Losing the Left

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IN THE CURRENT MIX of electoral alternatives, there is no longer a credible left-wing party. Not when “a credible left-wing party” is defined as: a class-oriented, mass-based, democratically-structured political organisation; dedicated to promoting ideas sharply critical of laissez-faire capitalism; and committed to advancing democratic, egalitarian and emancipatory ideals across the whole of society.

While some may argue that New Zealanders have not had a genuine left-wing party to vote for since the Labour Party abandoned its goal of “socialising the means of production, distribution and exchange” in 1951, it is more common to date the loss of a recognisably left-wing electoral alternative to Labour’s embrace of the “free market” in 1984.

Jim Anderton’s NewLabour Party and, later, his considerably less radical Alliance, attempted to make good that loss, and enjoyed some remarkable, if limited, successes. By 2002, however, the Alliance had broken apart, leaving only the Green Party of Aotearoa to carry forward the left-wing banner.

Problematically, the Greens, like their Values Party predecessor, are a post-scarcity political movement, driven less by class than by environmental and cultural concerns. As the party has come to embrace what is often abbreviated to “identity politics”, its earlier anti-capitalist impulses have been overwhelmed by the party’s increasingly strident discourses on ethnicity and gender.

The Greens move away from the system-challenging principles upon which the international Green movement was founded: Ecological Wisdom. Social Justice. Participatory Democracy. Nonviolence; is instructive. Displaying a disconcerting facility for Orwellian rewording, the Green Party of Aotearoa now lists its own core principles as: Ecological Wisdom. Social Responsibility. Appropriate Decision Making. Non-Violence.

The deletion of the words “justice”, “participatory” and “democracy”, amply confirms the Greens’ ideological trajectory: moving away from the emancipatory principles traditionally associated with the Left, and towards the uneasy marriage of technocratic “governance” and post-modern subjectivism so neatly personified in the party’s current co-leadership of James Shaw and Marama Davidson.

A very similar trajectory is discernible in the post-Rogernomics Labour Party. By embracing neo-liberalism, the party decisively abandoned its anti-capitalist ideology, rendering its use of the Left’s political vocabulary increasingly problematic. A semblance of radicalism and social transformation could, however, be maintained by moving deeper and deeper into the ideological territory of identity politics. In many respects, the alienating impact of this transition on its traditional followers was offset by the synergies it offered with Labour’s most “obvious” MMP coalition partner – the Greens.

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Like Caesar Augustus’ Rome, today’s Labour Party presents to the world only the empty shell of its former self. Labour has held onto its revolutionary red. It continues to convene conferences at which (we are told) party policy is democratically debated and determined. And, just as the Emperor’s legions marched under standards emblazoned with the acronym of the defunct Roman Republic – SPQR [Senatus Populusque Romanus – the Senate and People of Rome] – Labour’s constitution still proudly references the “principles of democratic-socialism”.

It’s all a sham, of course. A carefully controlled exercise in deception. Once a political party embraces identity politics, traditional democratic mechanisms have a nasty habit of atrophying. Allowing conference delegates to determine the party’s direction in open plenary sessions would risk the wholesale repudiation of ethnic and gender discrimination as the prime movers of social injustice, and the re-elevation of class. Appointed policy committees are much less prone to cause such ontological difficulties.

Which is not to say that class plays no role in the contemporary Labour Party, merely that the class which now controls the party is the class responsible for managing the real-world social and inter-personal conflicts generated by class, ethnicity and gender. Labour has no more need for the trade union “sergeants” who managed the class warfare of yesteryear; the apparatchiks it needs today are the identity, diversity and equity commissars who manage the twenty-first century’s culture wars.

To gain a flavour of the post-democratic Labour/Green operational style, one has only to watch the video recording of the parliamentary select committee hearings into the legislation empowering citizens to change the gender assigned to them at birth, and recorded on their birth certificates, more-or-less at will.

Held during the Covid-19 Pandemic, the hearing took place on Zoom. Those speaking to submissions opposing the legislation were subjected to vicious cross-examination by Labour and Green committee members. The notion that citizens appearing before a parliamentary committee have a right to be heard respectfully clearly no longer applies to those who step outside the ideological boundaries of transgenderism. Clearly, in Labour’s and the Greens’ moral universe, TERFs have no rights.

When a shocked Nicola Willis rose in the House of Representatives to record her own, and the National Party’s, dismay at the treatment meted out to gender critical submitters by Labour and Green MPs, Labour’s Deborah Russell proudly owned-up to her behaviour and, to the applause of her colleagues, promised the same to all such ideological apostates appearing before her.

These are the drums that Labour marches to in the 2020s. They are the drums of the Professional-Managerial Class – and that class does not march to a democratic beat. Like the Greens, Professional-Managerial Labour is wedded to “appropriate” decision-making: that is to say – decisions made by itself.

But, if the ideological cadres currently controlling both Labour and the Greens are forcing “justice”, “participation” and “democracy” to make way for what is “appropriate” and “responsible”, where does that leave the people who, for most of their adult lives, have voted for left-wing parties, precisely to advance the causes of “justice”, “participation” and “democracy”? What is to be done when these concepts, like the institutions of the fallen Roman Republic, are emptied of their original purpose and replaced by the iron strictures of a new ideological imperium?

When asked by journalists why he was leaving the Labour Party, Jim Anderton’s reply was always: “I never left Labour, Labour left me.” But, did Anderton ever fully appreciate the crucial role he himself had played in allowing Labour to drift away from its working-class roots?

Because, it was Anderton’s determination – as President of the Labour Party between 1979 and 1984 – to select what he described as “first-class, highly-qualified, parliamentary candidates” that kick-started the separation. Engineers, university lecturers, lawyers, successful public servants: such were the people Anderton caused to be selected in preference to the unqualified working-class trade unionists of yesteryear. Paradoxically, it would be Anderton’s protégés who, by embracing “Rogernomics”, finally drove him to abandon Labour in 1989. The Professional-Managerial Class’s takeover of Labour would have been a lot harder, and taken much longer, had it not been for Jim Anderton’s determination to conduct it safely within the party’s walls!

Political scientists would shrug at this tale of class transition and ideological supersession. With some justification they would argue that the trend towards the professionalisation of political parties and trade unions was well underway by the turn of the nineteenth century. It was, after all, Vilfredo Pareto, (1848—1923), who characterised democracy as a political system for securing “the orderly circulation of elites”. That being the case, the best the voter can hope for is to choose the least evil collection of elitists.

Except, to acknowledge this as the only viable solution to the problem of political homogenisation requires the voter to deny even the possibility of securing social justice and social progress through collective action from below. And that proposition is flatly contradicted by the history of the last 250 years – a period which saw ordinary men and women aspire to and claim life improvements of unprecedented scope and scale. Indeed, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that halting the forward march of this “social” democracy is exactly what the elites mobilised all their resources to achieve. Humanity’s present predicament is the result.

Breaking free of this predicament will require, above all other things, unity. But unity is achievable only if people are free to debate how, and upon what basis, it is best secured. That cannot happen where the principles of liberty, equality and solidarity are despised, or where the citizens’ freedom of expression is constrained. In other words, it cannot happen in political parties where ethnic and gender identity trumps the common heritage of humankind, and where saying as much is condemned as hate speech.

As happens in today’s Labour and Green parties.


Chris Trotter is New Zealand’s leading leftwing political commentator, with 30 years of experience writing professionally about New Zealand politics. He now writes regularly for the Democracy Project, producing his column “From the Left”.

This article can be republished for free under a Creative Commons copyright-free license. Attributions should include a link to the Democracy Project.  

59 COMMENTS

  1. Good sruff that resonates Chris T. And Anderton I noted did not have a fellow feeling with ‘the workers’. When he came to Nelson and I managed to say hello he didn’t have anything much to say to me. I imagine from what I have seen of King Charles that he would be more interested in talking directly to those citizens he was presented with. And I talked to a Union executive in Oz in 1970s, from the Electrical Union, and asked how jobs were and whether his son would become an electrician and he replied No – he was going into management. Now that was not giving honour to a very important basically needed trade.

    I feel that we tend to become status-seekers wrongly, lacking appreciation of the real in favour of the pretentious. Barrie’s ‘The Admirable Crichton’ will have a re-run soon.
    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Admirable_Crichton)

  2. Once again ‘Rogernomics’ mentioned as the big shift/change in the political landscape, and once again the lefties always bring it up there has been 9yrs of a Clark govt and 6yrs or Arden (3 years being solely govt in charge) and NO REVERSAL of anything significant that Roger Douglas implemented.
    I know it was 40yrs ago, but my god the left still bang on about it and love to blame all their ills on it, but conveniently ignore the 15yrs of Labour Govts that did bugger all about it and no perceptible reversals!

      • Were you there Ada? I was, and to a person not one of the people on my local committee or LEC approved of Roger et al. We fought and lost. We weren’t stabbed in the back. They pissed in our faces.

  3. Read with intense interest. Of the many things that deserve a comment the claim that democracy is merely a political system for securing “the orderly circulation of elites” really rang true. Little wonder the disengaged thumb their noses at the sham while those with a modicum of civic engagement increasingly feel (to quote) ‘the best the voter can hope for is to choose the least evil collection of elitists’. I suspect here in NZ there are few in NZ who have experienced real evil of oppressive dictatorships, although many of the UN refugees who arrive on these shore might qualify. To them NZ must seem benign place, an imperfect democracy in comparison. Sometimes I feel fortunate to be born here in these distant, bicultural Polynesian islands, albeit with a troubled colonial history; yet at other times such as now, made aware of the limitations of democracy, part of me mourns the possibility of securing social justice and social progress from below. Yes, it needs a transformative vision, it takes mobilization and requires sacrifice. Social democrats of any hue mostly mean well (comparatively speaking) but in many respects are paralyzed by their success.

  4. Dear @ CT. But we have lost the Left. That went with the dark dawn of roger’s neo-liberalism along with our money, our pride and our social securities.
    What we have now, after 39 years of Greed is Good, is a humourless version of the film Idiocracy.
    Dumb people willingly suffer to pay for things they’ve already paid for while private and political arse holes enjoy the pain they cause while they spend our money.
    I had an idea today while I was teasing my dog. I step on her toes lightly with my socked foot then when she looks down I gently pull her ear and her response to that is she tries to throw my dining table out the kitchen window. We have hours of fun.
    My idea is a simple idea. There’s a surprise, right?
    We, all of us, everyone with a few spare dollars collectively creates, fuck knows how, a fund into which you give all your money to me. One happy person is better than no one, surely.
    That was a joke of sorts.
    We all pay into a fund held in *escrow to employ a forensic accountant, a media personality and a lawyer to publicly investigate our entire economy and our politics, including all extensions of the political realm spanning the last 100 years. A nice round number. It need not be a lot of money individually but we’d all need to do it.
    * “What Is Escrow? Escrow is a legal concept describing a financial agreement whereby an asset or money is held by a third party on behalf of two other parties that are in the process of completing a transaction. Escrow accounts are managed by the escrow agent.”
    Then, once we have millions secured away in escrow we can dream about going up all and every Kiwi-As-Bra multi-billionaire, multi-millionaire, politician and bank from the dawn of **White Time to that “Oh Fuck! ” moment just after the implementation of the rich scum scam that’s neo-liberalism / MMP.
    I reckon if roger can do it, so can we but in reverse.
    ** White Time. When we white people turned up and fucked up everything for Maori.

  5. There wouldn’t be a single M.P. who would endorse the old Clause IV ‘ultimate object’ of securing for workers “the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution”. The Labour Party socialists of 1918: more progressive than the ‘woke’ liberal pretenders of 2023!

    Exactly how the Labour Party intended to achieve this — and supposedly “on the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control” — still seems unclear. After some early victories, the working class lawmakers and union leaders were apparently not ideologically equipped for what lay ahead: seemingly afflicted with that old bureaucratic disease that one K. Marx dubbed ‘parliamentary cretinism’.

  6. We should outlaw political parties and force people to vote for the best candidate in their electorate. After all, that was the original idea of a parliamentary system of representation. Otherwise we might as well have 10 mp’s representing parties only as no-one really has a personal vote in the house and the other 110 do nothing but warm seats and vote how they are told to.

    • Yep. Whilst I voted for MMP (twice, in my ideological days) it has deepened the separation between voters from the members of parliament.

      You can be an MP for life without even once going to your local people and asking for their vote. The voters just become a commodity that you can manipulate, sell down the road and then completely ignore.

      There’s very few ideology MPs, especially leaders from any political party in New Zealand. It’s sad to think that these people care only about their self promotion, their wealth and their power, and never about what’s best for the people that (supposedly put them there). But I guess, due to MMP, we didn’t put them there so they’re not answerable to us.

      • Utter garbage.

        List MPs are elected like all others. We elect them when we place our party vote.

        If you are too apathetic to actually do some reading about who is where on which party’s list, you should do the honest thing and abstain from party vote completely.

        Don’t blame MMP for your own laziness and ignorance.

  7. Maybe you could look back almost 2000 years for an example of unity that changed the world “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”
    History tells us that it didn’t last either although it would suggest that a bit more than human power is needed to transform people so they can cooperate for the greater good.

    • Let’s find a system with some holes in it it doesn’t have to be perfect with everyone giving up everything. Then no-one would be happy.

  8. Good points about freedom of speech, but the Greens are speaking the truth about this election being about the end of the species. Something you were never keen on addressing. For some fucken reason.

    • I agree. Most people are not willing to admit that large parts of the planet are on track to become totally uninhabitable. Even fewer are willing to openly discuss the implications of that fact. However, the universe owes us nothing, not even our continued existence. The laws of physics will not wait for us to come to terms with all this, because the laws of physics do not change according to people’s fee fees.

  9. An interesting article. NZ is a true blue country at heart. Lobbied by farmers and multiple large business donators. Unfortunately a Labour Party with a true left wing agenda would never be elected. Remember “the dancing Cossacks, “ “ pretty little communist “. Nothing has really changed since the Cossacks. We are fast heading for a radical right wing government that will suit the blue rinse brigade and the pearl clutchers. They obviously endorse policies of division, they hate beneficiaries, renters, state housing tenants and of course bottom feeders. We go to the polls on the 14 if the right wing are elected it will be a catastrophe and the voters will regret the coalition of “egos” where no one wins ,least of all the NZ people. Chris Trotter you have been writing articles agains this government for months. I am not sure what your agenda really is but one thing I am certain of the right wing commentators rarely go against their leaders , here on the left we can’t wait to rubbish the Labour government at every move. As they say who needs enemies when in reality your friends are really the enemy. This left wing blog is fast becoming a right wing blog where commentators are given free reign to rubbish the government at every opportunity. People like some of these commentators actively hated on Jacinda Ardern aided and abetted by many people on this blog and the misogynistic national and act parties who left terrible comments on their pages. No one says the Labour party is perfect but hey lets give them a bit of a break, because they have governed through the worst of times first with Winston Peters
    ( now the truth about his actions in government are coming out) then covid and it must hurt to see the voting public endorsing Luxon et. al. he speaks a lot of words but actually says nothing.

    • You want to know why Labour is going to lose, Queenie? Because its last two leaders have ruled out any meaningful changes to our tax system. Hipkins’ “Captain’s Call”, ruling out a wealth tax, and over-ruling his Finance and Revenue Ministers’ fiscal strategy (the first $10,000 of income tax-free) made his party’s defeat inevitable.

      And you expect me to support such idiocy!

    • Queeny, CT writes his BS on far-right sites like NZCPR founder ‘Muriel Newman’ ex ACT party politician and advocates systemically against Maori. I’ve read a few articles where CT writes disparagingly against Maori I have to wonder sometimes if he’s actually an undercover rightwing troll?

      • Ahhh Tipene, once again attacking the player not the ball!
        Seems unless it’s a post about how wonderful Maori are (and the ones in prison are there, because well ‘racist’ eh? lol)
        Not all maori vote alike, otherwise Maori party would be up at 15% plus, but they can’t even crack the 5% threshold….what does that tell you?

    • Agree with ya Queeny on Trotter and Josie Pagani is just as bad. Her comments after the last debate were as weak as piss, she didn’t want to say Hipkins won that one in fact it took Julian Wilcox to do that. And he was rolling his eyes he knows how bias and two faced our mainstream journalist and media are in NZ. It took him to mention the racism he saw when out doing his mahi with Māori candidates being racially heckled. The Māori women in Gisborne at Winstones talk was right where were the Māori in the room. The room was fill of rednecks who had a bloody cheek to call her racist.

    • The left has always eats itself, just ask Stalin, Castro, Mao that’s why no one wants a bar of it, Socialism , communism is contrary to Human nature, unless it is the family unit

    • I just wish that the beneficiaries, renters, state housing tenants would actually vote en masse, in their own best interests. Then we might actually get governments who would reflect their interests and better protect the economically and socially vulnerable. But whilst parties know that this demographic is often a no-show at the polls, they will continue to promote policies that reward the interests of people who do vote. We’re sitting in a situation of people’s own making.

  10. Where do Pasifikan people fit into your 19th century definitions of class ?

    Yep…and therein lies the problem.

    It ain’t about class, its about culture.

    • Go into the factories, BWAV, go into the warehouses. Check out the cleaners in the nearest high-rise. Take a look at the men on the road gangs. You want to know where Pasifika people fit into New Zealand’s class structure? They’re on the bottom – with the rest of the working-class.

      • How’d the class struggle work for Cubans ?

        Like we’re supposed to ditch our indigenous identity and join the eurocentrically defined class struggle because – as defined by the treaty – we’re British subjects first and foremost.

        Yeah, nah….I’m good. I’d rather fight a culture war against the political class which doesn’t really distinguish between left and right anymore.

  11. Another excellent article from Chris and perfectly summarises how the Labour Party no longer represents what it used to and in fact is now nothing more than a vanguard of some misguided and divisive ‘Neo ‘Cultural Revolution’.
    The counter-revolution can’t come fast enough.

  12. The question remains Chris…as a long time pundit with cachet among many politics followers…who are you recommending we vote for then? This column almost hints at some sort of abstain position…Greens and NZ Labour have displayed many flaws for decades…but…cough…ACT?

    You even manage to dismiss your old mate Jim. Mr Anderton was a problem for many lefties because he was anti communist, but definitely old school social democrat imo.

    Voting in bourgeois Parliamentary elections is always fraught, because so many forces are in action to maintain status quo–which in AO/NZ just happens to be 39 years of a neo liberal state and monetarism.

    That is why, ultimately new gens and boomers alike have to rediscover collectivism, community and working class organisation. Politics is a lot more than elections as we know by anti apartheid struggles, Māori renaissance, Gay Rights, Nuke Free NZ–built house by house, street by street, Council by Council, march and vigil etc…

    Groundswell has a toxic agenda but they are using the tactics the left should. And to cheer you up there is a general apology to be made on behalf of all the old commos from the 70s and 80s that regularly spent more time in sectarian shadow boxing than fighting the class enemy.

    • Always kill a traitor before the enemy. The lefties fight like rats vs weasels or Leninist vs Trotskyists or Trans vs Terfs because they recognize that the other faction can actually take what they have. While both factions can unite to try and take what the official opposition on the “blue” side of the aisle has neither can make anything on their own.

  13. I remember that select committee video. I remember the submitters from Speak Up For Women literally begging Russell and Kerekere to actually address the content of the submission. Of course they did not.

    Neither of these women seemed to understand what select committees are for. They just viewed it as an opportunity to have a crack at people who they thought were evil. And they were proud of it, Kerekere insulted and demeaned the submitters, and then proudly posted the video of her insulting and demeaning behaviour on her Facebook page.

    That said, there are still people in the Greens who get what Trotter is saying.

  14. BwaV I would contend that it is more about class than culture though others choose to think differently. Each class though in the same country has different cultures. I am partly of NZ Maori and apparently Hawaiian ancestry and have had a working class-lower middle class upbringing and on the personal level it is generally people with the same class background that I share values with rather than people of different class backgrounds despite broad cultural, national or ethnic links.

    • You raise an interesting point Trev. Books and books have been written on what constitutes a class society. I believe things have changed over the past few hundred years but Orwell’s claim that some animals are more equal than others suggests to me that in part we are born unequal. Certainly it was for Orwell. And its the impression I got when in the UK and Europe back in the day. It really did seem to me working class people were behind the eight ball, made worse by Thatcher’s govt. Middle class folk looked in both directions, one with disdain the other with envy. But then polytechnics were turned into new universities and wider participation encouraged. Blair’ catch cry of “education education, education” was echoed here in NZ.

      The dream is of course we can all transcend the intergenerational class structures we are born into. NZ a classless society? Back in the day I thought so. I thought everyone was more or less middle class with equal opportunity. Youthful naivity. Despite the fact that some mates were the sons of lawyers and doctors while many on the footy field came from parts of town I’d never ride my bike in. Of course social equality was never the case. I grew up near Moerewa. I was pakeha. I knew this. But at least everyone had a job back then and more importantly made a living wage.

      I was reminded of this by CW’s observation that even today road workers, cleaners and those working in the freight moving business are mostly brown. Minimum wage jobs for the most part – although I suspect plant operators and the like do ok. So on that basis here in NZ it would seem ‘culture’ (or is that ethnicity?) plays a part. I wouldn’t say deterministic. Education and good decisions also play a role. And let’s face it, modern and ancient societies alike have stratified roles.

      And hey, it’s pretty fuckin’ complex and I’m no expert.

  15. Agree with ya Queeny on Trotter and Josie Pagani is just as bad. Her comments after the last debate were as weak as piss, she didn’t want to say Hipkins won that one in fact it took Julian Wilcox to do that. And he was rolling his eyes he knows how bias and two faced our mainstream journalist and media are in NZ. It took him to mention the racism he saw when out doing his mahi with Māori candidates being racially heckled. The Māori women in Gisborne at Winstones talk was right where were the Māori in the room. The room was fill of rednecks who had a bloody cheek to call her racist.

  16. Agree with ya Queeny on Trotter and Josie Pagani is just as bad. Her comments after the last debate were as weak as piss, she didn’t want to say Hipkins won that one in fact it took Julian Wilcox to do that. And he was rolling his eyes he knows how bias and two faced our mainstream journalist and media are in NZ. It took him to mention the racism he saw when out doing his mahi with Māori candidates being racially heckled. The Māori women in Gisborne at Winstones talk was right where were the Māori in the room. The room was fill of rednecks who had a bloody cheek to call her racist.

    • True that. Labour middle of the roader Willow Jean Prime was hardly able to make her self heard at a Kerikeri debate recently due to several hundred half pissed rednecks (technically a number were actually middle class and petit bourgeois tradies and horticulturists) barracking and abusing her anytime she used a Māori phrase or word.

      A TPM sign in Taranaki was crunched by ute at night, after it had to drive through a farm fence to get to it! The political climate has well and truly changed.

  17. I fail to understand why and how you can make mostly astute observations and yet, in most instances when Labour has mooted something transformational you get spooked and call for caution or for abandonment of the attempt.

  18. Yes, Stephen I have read CTs articles Māori bashing the so called left have racist too.
    We have to remember this country was founded on racist laws and policy. I try not to read his stuff it annoys me, and he thinks he knows everything about Māori, but he would have learnt it all from the book.

  19. Before the Labour movement got into power there were a conservative and liberal party representing the two arms of elite opinion (in the UK they were literally called the Conservative and Liberal parties). What has happened in most countries is that the Labour parties have been slowly worn down until they are basically modern liberal parties. The Conservative parties are still a little confused about this hence their erratic behaviour but we’re basically back where we were pre-1935.

    Not to worry though, if we could invent universal welfare out of nowhere we can certainly re-invent it.

    And to right wingers I would warn; take it easy, the further you push the worse the pushback will be. Most of our children will never be able to afford a house and they are going to look at things like Communism and think it’s worth trying again.

    • Universal welfare for people who work for wages or just to help the family and collective – can be done. Same as creating money like an upside down pyramid that goes against the laws of gravity – can and is being done. But money can be based on an idea and a promise, work is based on completed tasks; understanding the difference, can that be done?

  20. “there is no longer a credible left-wing party. Not when “a credible left-wing party” is defined as: a class-oriented, mass-based, democratically-structured political organisation; dedicated to promoting ideas sharply critical of laissez-faire capitalism; and committed to advancing democratic, egalitarian and emancipatory ideals across the whole of society.”

    I’m voting maori party for the first time this year because of their wealth tax, which is very strong, and if implemented would likely reverse the inequality produced by neoliberalism. Of course, it’s not going to happen, but as far as I can tell no other party has even close to this aggressive of a tax policy.

  21. @ ada” Rogernomics is the lefts stab in the back myth that set them as victims ,not villains. ” The myth that left us in our seventies steering pregnant children (all maori and p.i. ) away from the crack pipe and raising our grandchildren . Forty years is a blink in time Ada. We watched the decline in our towns and villages the work and jobs dried up there was a collapse in our spiritual health . Following years so many tangi ; young men blowing their brains out ,our suicide rate is a barometer of our social health and we’re top of the charts worldwide.
    Prebble made some comment about MOW, NZFS ,P&T ,NZED ,Railways being tired old mens homes ,but we were in the frost pouring concrete for the Waikato dams and bridges and Proud when the ribbon cutting happened . They’re all still producing kw for your e.v.s in Grey Lynn . Used to be huge sports days for the mill towns ,now it’s Harleys, pit bulls and meth; gangs preying on their own . Maybe Richard and Roger should have factored in downstream carnage in their spreadsheet . Reading and libraries were a hit of socialism for a lot of us with heaps of time on our hands . Long thought out budgets for teeth and tyres and all the while raising grandchildren
    On another tack they do random drug testing so it culls a lot of fit young men ( also why some go for P cos it eliminates from system quick ) so they down road . Wonder if they do that at parliament Chloe and marama look like they partake of some puff .We gather around the fire and wish everybody had a job

  22. Chris… your article is on point

    If you follow USA politics it would appear as if the NZ Labour Party in particular follows the same policy approaches as the Democrates… Identity politics, support for proxy war in Ukraine etc. The traditional NZ left is sunk… not to sure if there are any Safe havens left. Maybe that’s been the strategy all along… to destroy the left (uk is a great example, no real choice, just muppets)

  23. with just a little more awareness, and without the need to maintain his own position in the media circus, Chris Trotter might almost have come up with a real description of the role the Left plays in political systems. The left isn’t betraying it’s old principals in order to get into power, it drops them because they just don’t work for anyone who has the responsibilities of power.
    Old Labour dropped the workers control of the means of production and distribution because they had seen Cuba and the USSR.
    That 250 years ago that Trotter mentions, which I presume was the French revolution was the middle class promising the working class equality and delivering them the property and power they ripped off from the church and the aristocracy. Those Jacobite leaders were lawyers intellectuals and journalists the proto-PMCs of their day, not shepherds and bricklayers.
    Also Vilfredo Pareto, (1848—1923) said all political systems must secure “the orderly circulation of elites”, not just Democracy. Good on him for reading a book though.
    Anyway, long story short, Leftism eats the progress that Rightism makes, they are parasites.

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