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No Country For Dishonourable Men

By   /  October 16, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  No Comments

NICKY HAGER’S latest revelations concerning the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) could not be more timely. In the year of #MeToo, he has exposed a culture of toxic masculinity extending from the top to the bottom of New Zealand’s armed forces.

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Donald Trump And The Art Of Populist Grotesque.

By   /  October 12, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  36 Comments

IN A RECENT POST Jane Kelsey identifies some of the more important challenges posed for the Left by Donald Trump. His peculiar mix of worker-friendly policies and corporate concessions. His willingness to advance protectionism – along with a host of other ideas long-declared “verboten” by neoliberal ideologues. His brazen rejection of globalism. His reaffirmation of the citizen’s indissoluble duty of loyalty to the nation state – and vice versa.

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A Change Of Plan

By   /  October 11, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  7 Comments

IT WAS LATE and the fire was dying. The wine bottle was definitely not half full. In the far corner a couple of vapers appeared to smoke. But up this end, nearest the fire, I was alone. Until she turned up.

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Petrol Pump Politics

By   /  October 9, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  39 Comments

“AT A DOLLAR a gallon we can’t afford Rowling.” Given his latest media release,  “Government pricing Kiwis out of their cars”, someone’s obviously been schooling up young Simon Bridges on the way Rob Muldoon smashed Labour in 1975.

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The Political Amnesia Of Winston Peters’ Critics

By   /  October 5, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  24 Comments

Far from undermining our parliamentary democracy, the Electoral Integrity legislation which NZ First insisted form a central part of this new coalition government’s programme now stands as a solid protection against any repetition of the constitutional outrage of 1998. That blatant attack on MMP which Winston Peters perennial critics either cannot, or will not, acknowledge.

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National’s Little-Boy-Lost

By   /  October 4, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  21 Comments

It is Bridges’ lack of authenticity: the impression he gives of playing politics by-the-numbers and without conviction; that makes the electorate so unwilling to take him seriously. He can frown, scowl, pout and shout his defiance of the Coalition Government, and all its leaders do is laugh. Much as a gathering of youngsters would laugh if one of their number attempted to impersonate the responsible adult in the room.

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The Devil’s Imagination

By   /  October 2, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  50 Comments

the Fossil Fuel Industry-inspired “Big Lies” that anthropogenic global warming is either a scientific “hoax” or a “left-wing plot” to bring down the capitalist system. Earth’s climate is always changing, they argue. Long before human-beings made their appearance, the planet was, by turns, boiling hot and freezing cold. If, and the word “if” is emphasised, the planet is going through another warming period, then 1) it’s not our fault; and 2) there’s nothing we can do about it except adapt the best way we can. After all, with just a tiny fraction of the technology they now possess, human-beings made it through the Ice Age!

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CTO-gate – Smoke Gets In Our Eyes

By   /  September 28, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  28 Comments

THE QUESTION IS, can they pull it off? Can the National Party do to Jacinda Ardern what Labour tried, but failed, to do to John Key: destroy their opponents’ most powerful political asset? The other question is: If this is National’s intention, then how deep does the conspiracy go?

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Pulling Down The Shades (Satire)

By   /  September 27, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  6 Comments

“SHALL WE MAKE A START?”, said the man from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, ostentatiously rearranging the pile of documents stacked in front of him and glancing up sharply at the five other participants seated around the polished Rimu table. The meeting-room windows overlooked the parliamentary complex below. A howling Wellington southerly sent raindrops clattering, bullet-like, against the glass.

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Virginia Crawford’s Duty To Offend

By   /  September 25, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  29 Comments

THE PRINCIPAL OF Hamilton’s Fraser High School, Virginia Crawford, has been roundly criticised for warning her students about the strong correlation between truancy and failure in the world beyond high school. The push-back against Crawford’s address culminated in a walkout by around 100 of Fraser’s senior students on Monday 24 September 2018. But, what if she was telling the truth?

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Has Neoliberalism Colonised Our Minds?

By   /  September 21, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  33 Comments

New Zealand is by no means exempt from the effects of this unravelling neoliberal hegemony. In this country, also, there is a large colonised population presided over by a distant and hated elite. We, too, have constructed an underclass whose full citizenship and personhood is routinely denied in overcrowded prisons; at the counter of the local WINZ office; and by “unconsciously biased” teachers, medics and cops.

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No Substance To Her Stardust: Has Jacinda Lost The Magic?

By   /  September 18, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  48 Comments

HOW DID IT HAPPEN? Where did she go? The Jacinda Ardern who rocked our world? Where did she lose her sparkle and her stardust? What, or who, took from her the qualities that had so decisively interposed themselves between the centre-left and almost certain defeat?

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MUST READ: NZ First’s Radical Conservatism Must Triumph Before Labour-Greens’ Radical Progressivism Can Succeed

By   /  September 14, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  48 Comments

The crucial political failure of Labour and the Greens is that they have yet to appreciate that without the realisation of the radical conservatives’ programme, the chances of a radically progressive programme succeeding are nil. Until the slums of neoliberalism have been cleared, a New Zealand fit to live in cannot be built.

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A Different Kind Of Populism

By   /  September 13, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  2 Comments

NEW ZEALAND GOT POPULISM early. If you count Rob Muldoon as this country’s first no-holds-barred populist, then the start-date is 1974. If, as most people do, you date the rise of populism in New Zealand from the advent of the NZ First Party in 1993, then our populist-in-chief is Winston Peters – and he’s been kicking around for a quarter-century.

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“Nothing Without A Demand” The Need For A New Union Movement

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

The rights of working people will thus be traded back and forth like chips on the political poker table. Neither National nor Labour are really interested in hearing how workers themselves would prefer the modern workplace to be organised, or in ways that the twenty-first century economy, with all its technological miracles, might be so regulated as to ensure that the benefits of robotics and artificial intelligence accrue to the whole population – and not just the shareholders of the transnational corporations who own the patents.

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A Rainy Afternoon In September

By   /  September 7, 2018  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  9 Comments

GEORGE LIFTED HIS HAND in greeting as Martyn entered the bar. At two o’clock on a rainy afternoon in early September the place was virtually empty.

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