Culture War Resentment trumping Economic Common Good – the new subjective politics of a brittle NZ Democracy


One stat from the latest Roy Morgan Poll stood out, the steep political divide between men and women…

‘On an overall basis, men heavily favour the National/ ACT/ NZ First coalition government on 60%, almost double the opposition Labour/ Greens/ Maori Party on only 33.5% – a gap of 26.5% points.’


…middle class woke dogma has driven male voters away from the Left, if the left want to win the next election, pure temple politics has to be put aside for common ground broad church.

I argued that last years election was a grudge fuck against Labour by a bitter post Covid electorate angry that Jacinda had the temerity to save 20 000 lives and voters elected this hard right racist climate denying beneficiary bashing Government without appreciating the extremist agenda and after 100 days of romper stomper culture war revenge fantasies masquerading as social policy we will see the middle voter collapse and flee the right – and lo and behold this poll spells all that out!

Most National voters voted National in the hope their house price would go up 10%, they didn’t sign up to ACTs Treaty race war and they sure as christ didn’t want Winston’s weird anti vax conspiracy swamp kingdom nuttiness.

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The danger for this hard right racist climate denying beneficiary bashing Government is that they haven’t even implemented their own agenda yet and it is FAR worse than anything that has been announced in their first 100 days – if voters are angry now, wait till they see the law National want to pass.

Populism vs Authoritarian political currents have been exposed by the latest IPSOS poll…

New Zealand broken and in decline – new survey

A global wave of disillusionment and disenfranchisement has not spared New Zealand, with a majority of respondents to a survey here agreeing that New Zealand society is broken and the country is in decline.

Ipsos New Zealand asked 1001 Kiwis about their hopes for the future and their views of the state of the nation in the final week of February. The results, exclusively obtained by Newsroom, line up with the pollster’s findings from 28 countries overseas: People believe the economy is rigged to benefit the rich and powerful and traditional politicians aren’t doing anything about it.

Three in five respondents told Ipsos that New Zealand society was in decline and that the country is broken, aligning closely with results from overseas. This is the first time New Zealand has been included in this survey, which Ipsos has run elsewhere five times since 2016.

Paul Spoonley, the former director of centre of research excellence He Whenua Taurikura, said the findings align with the long-running Edelman Trust Barometer study, which doesn’t include New Zealand.

“What they’re recording internationally, which is repeated in this Ipsos survey, is a very rapid decline in trust, particularly in governments and in experts, and a decline in the level of social cohesion internationally,” he said.

“What you see repeated in both the Edelman Trust Barometer and the Ipsos survey is this dissatisfaction, but more than that, distrust of leaders, within government or out. Attached to that distrust is a post-Covid pessimism in the collective.”

…yes this spike in extremism is deeply concerning, BUT as Jack Vowles points out, we’ve had levels of dissatisfaction that were higher in the past…

Jack Vowles: Stop the panic – we’ve been here before

New Zealand is said to be suffering from ‘serious populist discontent’. An IPSOS MORI survey has reported that we have an increasing preference for strong leaders, think that the economy is rigged toward the rich and powerful, and political elites are ignoring ‘hard-working people’.  The data is from February this year.  There is no earlier IPSOS data to compare it with, but the inference is clear. We are on a downward track towards dangerous populism and authoritarianism.

The New Zealand Election Study (NZES) has been in the field during much the same period, collecting post-election opinion. We have been asking similar questions over the past thirty years, asking people to agree or disagree with the following statements. This data can provide a useful longer-term perspective.

‘Most members of Parliament are out of touch with the rest of the country’.  The percentage agreeing is up since 2020 – 51 per cent  in 2023 compared to 43 per cent in 2020. But looking further back, agreement has ranged in the low to mid-forties since about 2005, but in 2002 it was at about 49 per cent. In 1993, the first year we asked the question, it was 60 per cent.

‘People like me don’t have any say over what the government does’. 45 per cent agree this year, up from 40 per cent in 2020.  But in 2011 48 per cent agreed with the statement, and in 1993, 63 per cent.

‘The New Zealand Government is largely run by big interests’.  51 percent agreed in 2023, up from 36 per cent in 2020. But the 2020 number was unusually low. Normally agreement has tracked up and down around 40 per cent since 2002.  In 1993, 60 percent agreed. There is a slight tendency for agreement with this statement to be higher under National governments, but there may be no causal connection.

‘A few strong leaders could make this country better than all the laws and talk’.  51 per cent agreed with this statement in 2023, up from 43 per cent in 2020. But since 1996 agreement with this authoritarian position has normally tracked well over 50 per cent, dropping down from 56 per cent in 2011 to the low point of 43 per cent in 2020. 2023 is a reversal of the trend, but we have been there before.

How satisfied are you with the way democracy works in New Zealand? Those very or fairly satisfied: in 2023, 69 per cent.  Down from 73 per cent in 2020. But 69 per cent is still higher than all the previous numbers except those from 1996. Normally, those who are satisfied have tracked at about 65 per cent.  Those not satisfied in 2023 were 25 per cent.

…where Jack I think is wrong is in terms of the radicalisation and polarisation we now have.

Yes there was a deep dissatisfaction with the system in the previous years Jack compares to, but the difference is why people are dissatisfied and the new extents of radicalisation they have mutated into.

Sure you might be pissed off with NZ politics in 1996, because that was the first year NZ First swept the Māori electorates and we had MMP, the difference now is that the dissatisfaction is driven by social media hate algorithms that has radicalised and polarised the dissatisfied in a far more extreme fashion.

Yes dissatisfaction has been higher in the past, but the extreme nature of the radicalisation is what is different now.

There’s a vast difference between being unhappy with what Ruth Richardson was doing in 1993 and the belief that Jacinda, her family and the entire front bench of the Labour Party should be hanged for crimes against humanity at a Covid Nuremberg trial!

The manner in which social media school chambers have radicalised voters into Qanon militia speaks to a deeper wound and is reminiscent of the way global Muslim youth were radicalised in the 1990s and 2000s thanks to online Jihadist recruitment videos.

Citizens should feel angry and cynical at a system that is rigged in favour of the rich!

That shouldn’t shock or surprise us, that is the reality!

The danger now is the extremism that social media hate algorithms has manufactured.

Let me be as clear as I can be to my fellow comrades of the Left, if we allow woke activists and woke politicians to drag us into a culture war, we on the left will lose the election!

Here’s why.

Social media proxification – hell is other people’s social media feed – Sartre

Social media algorithms have allowed for a toxicity of debate that is easily manipulated. A symphony of sweaty truths all screaming for attention and no one listening. Woke Identity Politics activists have seized the joy of having no gatekeepers to express how much they hate white men while alt right Incel Nazi’s have seized upon the joy of having no gatekeepers to express how much they hate everyone else.

Millennial woke culture sees macro violence coming from micro aggressions and piously police those micro aggressions with virtue signalling purity mantras.

Alt Right Incel Nazis see white persecution and create some bullshit replacement narrative to justify their powerlessness and feed that resentment online.

Most people are on social media and most people have a woke activist or Qanon fanatic in their social media feed screaming their feverish truths. While these activists certainly think they are speaking truth to power by endlessly calling people out for breaches of woke mantra or fake news anti Trump lies, to everyone else they are simply toxic.

People stop seeing the political party and only see the activist and in the end proxification means the activist becomes the proxy representation of the Party, and seeing as people have negative feelings towards the proxy, they turn from the Party.

Voters aren’t voting on policy, they are voting on who made them feel resentful on social media!

The political is the personal now means what hurts me personally becomes political.

Before social media activists could only face each other off at protests or through letters to the editor or talkback radio. There were constraints of interaction but with social media there are none and it turns out the freedom to insult and dehumanise others is more addictive than nicotine, alcohol and meth combined.

Wokeness has become a puritanical religion with none of the beauty – it’s not so much the personal virtue signal, we are all dicks at times, it’s the weaponization by algorithms that make it so dangerous and damaging.

The danger of identity politics is that it locks people intellectually into only defining the world through their skin colour, genitalia or sexual orientation – it also becomes toxically subjective and tribal where the only solidarity is with other people who share the skin colour or genitalia or sexual orientation- without shared truths and values, the 1% and their 9% enablers continue to divide the rest of us 90%.

The Left has lurched into woke ‘Social Justice’ territory which alienates more than it attracts.

Economic Justice does more than banning Gay Conversion, criminalising speech or gerrymandering the legal system to ensure anyone accused is found guilty, it redistributes wealth and makes direct provision to the cost of every day living. Beneficiaries and working class people care less about pronouns and the correct pronunciation of te Reo than they do about how to pay next weeks rent and power bill!

Pure temple doctrine divides & alienates. Broadchurch universals build solidarity.

I’m not interested in social justice wokedom any more, it is a minefield of competing schisms throwing vitriol at one another.

Twitter outrage is woke righteousness porn for the middle classes. A puritanical razoring where the self elected morality police publicly shame and cancel anyone for not using the language protocols of the conclave.

I am interested in Economic Justice and the immediate welfare of the poorest amongst us while providing immediate life condition upgrades.

Media proxification is leading to a fascist kaleidoscope of climate crisis entropy triggered by Covid, woke supremacy & ok Karen QAnon echo chambers.

In the end we will scream and beg for a leader who can save us from ourselves!

Comrades – Your enemy isn’t a woman who says stupid shit about Trans people in a public park, your enemy are the Banks, Oil Companies, Billionaires and Property Speculators who continue to pillage this country while we are bickering over the narcissism of petty difference!


  1. For sure Martyn I can be guilty of woke activist shit and get triggered at Maoribashing hate redneck incel narrative so thanks for the reminder and I’ll try better next time?

  2. I’m not going to fight about it or engage in hostilities because the caption on the image is correct – They have the money to play the divide and rule card and I’m not buying.

    However, I say to MB, to me it looks like you’re too knee deep in the trench, soldier, to realize that as the only free discussion voice on the left, you’re not only fighting their fight for them, you’re starting new ones.

    When I write ‘useful idiot’ don’t be upset and fixate on the word idiot – If there’s a TMO, surely they’ll be wanting to check on ‘useful’ first. Considering what’s at stake here, if it went to court, like when I’ve been called an idiot savant, you might not like it but hand on heart, you know you’d have a hard time defending it.

    If you really want to unite the left, then use your platform to do it and have a peek over the top to remind yourself who your fighting and then behind to see all those your fighting for who can’t.

    • Martyn is right that the Left currently manages to alienate more than unite, and you are right that Martyn also stokes the fires of the current culture war.

      I certainly feel pushed Right as a gun owning, white male home owner with investments & an above average income, despite being a Labour/Greens supporter (until the last election).

      Most things don’t effect me, but I would rather live in a fairer, more caring, more equal society, than the one we currently have, but I don’t see any of our current political parties delivering this.

  3. By this stage, 6 months in, we’d have hoped someone might be emerging as a better potential leader on the left than what we have.
    I hope we aren’t going to go through another long period of Labour chopping and changing, pushing people forward who don’t really have the heart for it, such as David Shearer. Or people pushing themselves forward who imagine they are a lot more appealing than they really are, such as David Cunliffe.
    Both were potentially good, but conditions were not right for them at the time.
    Potential leaders do seem rather cautious of being caught in one of those ambushes again. That’s why Grant was wise to go. He apparently didn’t want the leadership.

    Women will become vastly under-represented in leadership because of the idiot reactions Jacinda stirred up amongst men in particular. Men who behaved so irrationally against Jacinda actually believe that we think, they know best. That 12 year olds make good leaders!

    The right doesn’t seem to have any of those qualms about their suitability. However, we know the old saying about fools rushing in. And that’s the govt. we’ve ended up with. Vast and immature egos and nothing else.

  4. Supporters of the left abandoned the pursuit of policies that would help the majority and indeed those at the bottom and instead ran off on an emotional tangent.
    The left definitely need someone to save them from themselves.

  5. As an aside is there anyone left who supports Chippie?
    I see him as a huge disadvantage to the hopes of the Labour Party.

  6. ” The left definitely need someone to save them from themselves. ”

    Where have you been for the last thirty years. There is NO left.

    It died with the Alliance and Jim Anderton in 2001.


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