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If Labour Wants Fewer Prisoners, Then It Needs To Create More Prison Space – Not Less

By   /  June 15, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  29 Comments

STUPIDITY ON STILTS. How else should the decision-making on Waikeria Prison be characterised. From practically every perspective, the Labour-led government’s determination not to proceed with the construction of a new 3,000-bed “mega-prison” was flawed. Most particularly (and most worryingly) it demonstrated the Cabinet’s inability to think politically. When your business is politics-at-the-highest-level, that’s a very serious flaw indeed.

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What’s Wrong With The Progressive Movement’s Bloody Ships?

By   /  June 14, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  59 Comments

ABOUT THE TIME the second of Britain’s battle cruisers exploded, Vice-Admiral Beatty famously remarked: “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today.” Trying to make sense of the political passivity of New Zealanders in the twenty-first century, I am often minded of Beatty’s words at the Battle of Jutland. Throughout the vicious class warfare of the past 35 years there does, indeed, seem to be something “wrong” with the progressive movement’s bloody ships!

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What They Do In The Shadows: Winston Saves Labour From Itself

By   /  June 12, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  26 Comments

THANK GOD FOR WINSTON PETERS! The decision of the NZ First Party to torpedo the Labour Party justice minister’s proposal to scrap the “Three Strikes” legislation came in the very nick of time. Andrew Little may be a good man, and Sir Peter Gluckman a powerful advocate for evidence-based decision-making, but neither of them would appear to possess Peters’ gut instinct for what is – and is not – politically possible.

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Forget the 1970s, Labour’s Fair Pay Agreements will take New Zealand back to the 1890s!

By   /  June 7, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  33 Comments

“FAIR PAY AGREEMENTS” (FPA) are the final proof that Labour is evolving backwards into the Liberal Party. Predictably, National’s ignorance of its own country’s history has rendered it incapable of placing this latest example of Labour milksoppery into its proper context.

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Generating Our Own Momentum?

By   /  June 1, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  35 Comments

CAN A “MOMENTUM” be built in New Zealand? This, in essence, was the question posed by millennial political scholar extraordinaire, Max Harris, to the sixty-or-so leftists who showed up at the Kai Pasifika restaurant on Wednesday night (30/5/18) for the welcome return of Laila Harré’s political “salon”.

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The Italian Job

By   /  May 31, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  25 Comments

RECENT EVENTS IN ITALY raise some disturbing questions about the possibility of executing radical policy reversals in this country. While New Zealand’s constitution is a considerably looser affair than Italy’s, it is still worth pondering what might happen here if a newly-elected, about-to-be-sworn-in government was promising to roll back the gains of neoliberalism. Before attempting an answer, however, it is worth re-capping what has happened in Italy.

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Killing Them Softly: Labour’s Caution Is Proving Fatal To NZ First

By   /  May 29, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Martyn Bradbury, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  67 Comments

WINSTON PETERS had better have something up his sleeve – preferably an ace – or things are going to get messy. Reviewing the latest poll from Newshub/Reid Research, the thought must surely have crossed the NZ First leader’s mind: “Did Jacinda play me?” Because, it is almost impossible to imagine a politician as experienced as Peters agreeing to install such a potentially unstable combination as the Labour-NZF-Green government without first being convinced that Jacinda was genuinely committed to New Zealand’s economic and social transformation.

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Testing The Speaker

By   /  May 24, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  47 Comments

QUESTION TIME IN PARLIAMENT this afternoon was a useful reminder of what Jacinda and her government are up against. In theory, Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition are supposed to impress the Visitor’s Gallery as a government-in-waiting: sagacious, witty and (to use a favourite parliamentary term) honourable. In practice, Simon Bridges’ National Party Opposition comes across as ignorant, boorish and disturbingly truculent.

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MUST READ: Budget 2018: Labour’s Pre-Emptive Capitulation To Kiwi Capitalism’s Discontent

By   /  May 22, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  15 Comments

Grant Robertson’s dutiful and fiscally timid first budget has furnished New Zealand business leaders with all the proof they could possibly need that neoliberalism’s sharpest teeth are all perfectly safe.

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How Should One Deal With A Psychopathic State?

By   /  May 17, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  44 Comments

THE TRAGEDY UNFOLDING in Gaza poses the question: How should one deal with a psychopathic state?

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The Boy On The Tram

By   /  May 15, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  33 Comments

When the state-owned railways Prebble had pledged to save were being “corporatized” (i.e. readied for sale to private buyers) a story began doing the rounds which Labour insiders always insisted came from Prebble’s Office. It was “The Story of the Disappearing Bulldozer”.

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America’s Bitter Legacy In The Middle East

By   /  May 11, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  31 Comments

THE QUESTION CONFRONTING the Democratic Party when it next takes control of the White House will, simply, be: “What now?” The next Democratic President will likely enter office with the two most powerful Islamic nations in the Middle East, Iran and Saudi Arabia, locked in a nuclear arms race. Faced with the prospect of two bitter foes acquiring the means to wipe it off the face of the earth, Israel (which already possesses its own nuclear arsenal) will be screaming at the new Democratic administration to: “Do something – or we will!” Doing something will be unavoidable – but what is it that the United States should do?

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What Has Trump Just Done?

By   /  May 9, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  59 Comments

WHAT HAPPENED this morning (9/5/18) has yet to be fully understood by the peoples of the world. Upon learning of President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, the temptation to simply roll one’s eyes and shake one’s head was hard to resist. Many would have recalled Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and assumed his latest move was in a similar vein.

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“Convergence Des Luttes” – A Convergence Of Struggles

By   /  May 8, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  5 Comments

EMMANUEL MACRON will be hoping that Mark Twain was wrong about history. In the French President’s ears, the celebrated American novelist’s famous observation that although history does not repeat itself, it sometimes rhymes, can hardly be reassuring.

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Giving Trump Enough Rope

By   /  May 4, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  30 Comments

THE SPEED at which the Right is mutating is nowhere more evident than in Donald Trump’s America. One has only to examine the tensions within the American Republican Party to get some measure of its disarray. In spite of controlling all three branches of the federal government, the Republicans have never looked more fractious. Fewer and fewer on the right are convinced that politics-as-usual is any longer capable of delivering the changes they seek.

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MUST READ: Shane Jones’ Critique Of Bureaucratic Obstructionism Is Well Made

By   /  April 30, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  53 Comments

If you have ever wondered why Peters attracts so much venom from practically the entire political class: politicians, journalists, civil servants and business lobbyists; it’s because they understand that any politician who pledges to fulfil his party’s promises by reintroducing a “hands-on” approach to economic management cannot avoid exposing the undemocratic coding at the core of government management in New Zealand.

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