Wednesday, August 4, 2021

A transformational government unlike any other

[The following was written for The National Business Review. It was to have been the first of a weekly column that the paper invited me to contribute. However there was a polite dispute between us over some of the content in the inaugural column, as a result of which neither it nor any other will be appearing in NBR. But having written it anyway, I thought I might as well post it here. Nothing in it is likely to come as a surprise to regular readers of this blog.]

I received an email the other day from a friend, a retired journalist and self-described bleeding-heart lefty (most journalists lean to the left, though the good ones don’t let it influence their work), who complained that political correctness was sucking all the fun out of life.

Actually, I don’t think the phrase “political correctness” is adequate to describe what’s happening in New Zealand in 2021. Political correctness was a phenomenon whose absurdities were so obvious that we could safely ridicule them.

Being PC was mostly about superficial stuff: saying the right thing and putting on ostentatious displays of cultural or gender sensitivity. But what’s happening now is far more complex, deep-seated and unsettling. We can no longer simply laugh it off.

Real rights are under threat – for example, property rights, the right to fair and equal democratic representation and, crucially, the right of free speech. Mere political correctness, of the type we used to scoff at, now looks almost benign.

Identity politics, the culture wars, neo-Marxism, wokeness …these terms get closer to describing what’s going on. But none quite captures the scale and pace of the current upheavals in politics and culture.

To cite just a few obvious examples:

■ The Three Waters project, which represents a massive centralisation of power, seizure of community-owned assets and erosion of local democracy;

■ Vaguely defined “hate speech” laws, promoted under the dishonest pretext that they might have prevented the Christchurch mosque massacres;

■ Political control of the media via the Public Interest Journalism Fund (or as I prefer to call it, the Pravda Project) and the opportunistic creation – taking advantage of privately owned media’s weakened position in the digital era – of a new, state-owned media behemoth through the proposed merger of RNZ and TVNZ;

■ Proposals for 50-50 Maori co-governance and control over public assets and resources, which would turn fundamental concepts of democracy on their head;

■ Punitive taxes on economically indispensable farmers’ and tradies’ work vehicles, with corresponding subsidies for affluent (and Labour-voting?) urban buyers of electric cars;

■ Attacks on supposed white privilege and the rewriting of our national story, complete with indoctrination of school pupils through an ideologically loaded history curriculum;

■ Violation of property rights through the Significant Natural Areas provisions of the Resource Management Act;

■ The relentless promotion of Maori place names and te reo, unsanctioned by any semblance of public mandate.

I could go on, but you get the picture. This is a government that has raced way too far ahead of the people who voted for it and way too far ahead of its own competence.

New Zealand has had transformational governments before: Richard Seddon’s Liberals in the 1890s and early 1900s, Labour under Michael Joseph Savage in the 1930s, Rogernomics in the 1980s (note, never under National, the party of the status quo). But the current government is pushing through arguably the most radical transformation programme ever, and it’s happening at such speed that people are barely able to catch their breath.

Few if any of the voters who threw their support behind Jacinda Ardern and Labour in last year’s election realised they were effectively giving the green light to a grand ideological project.

They thought they were rewarding Ardern for her assured leadership through the mosque massacres and Covid-19 crisis, and at the same time sending a message to a fractious and enfeebled National Party to sort out its act. In politics, however, there’s no Customer Guarantees Act that allows you to demand a refund when the product you bought isn’t the one advertised.

But back to my retired journalist friend. Among other things, he was concerned about the characterisation of our history as a shameful chronicle of white supremacy, oppression and exploitation. 

There is a balanced, nuanced debate to be had about colonisation and its effects, but it’s not happening. A truly honest debate would acknowledge that while Maori suffered damaging long-term consequences, they also benefited. The abolition of slavery, endless tribal warfare and cannibalism must surely count for something.

An honest debate would also acknowledge that race relations in New Zealand have mostly been harmonious and respectful – a fact attested to by the number of Maori activists with European features and Anglo-Saxon surnames.

Now here’s the thing about my journalist friend. By disposition he’s left-leaning.  Run the standard check list of defining historical issues past him – the Vietnam War, the 1981 Springbok tour, homosexual law reform – and he ticks all the correct boxes. So why is he alarmed?

It’s partly the sheer pace of change – he uses the work “reckless” – and the fact that the public is being given little chance to adjust. “I just wish she [Ardern] would slow down so as not to alienate traditional and swinging supporters,” he writes.

I’ve heard similar sentiments expressed by other friends whose normal inclination is to support Labour. Underlying their concern is a sense that the country is being radically re-invented without public approval, or even a proper debate.

When former union firebrand and political activist Matt McCarten joins the Free Speech Union because he’s concerned for the health of democracy, you just know the political planets are undergoing an unusual realignment.

The standard, sneering response from the so-called “progressive” left – let’s call them the “new” left to differentiate them from people like my friend – is that resistance to the government’s agenda is coming mainly from ageing white men like me. We’re supposed to get out of the way and shut up.

Woke people call us dinosaurs and reactionaries, but the counter-argument is that age gives you a loftier vantage point from which to survey the past and judge the present. To put it another way, it gives us a deeper appreciation of what we (and by that I mean all of us) stand to lose.

36 comments:

Andy Espersen said...

Try 'Quilette", Karl. This great platform for free speech began as an Australian media outlet. They will gladly publish a "local" New Zealand article (I believe). Our problems are so similar to many other other western countries..

Anna Mouse said...

Sums up what most New Zealanders are thinking.

Anna Mouse said...

Sums up what most New Zealaners are thinking. Democracy was once but is no more under this (oddly enough) 'elected' Government.

Russell Parkinson said...

A very good article Karl and I cant for the life of me understand why NBR wont publish. Maybe they haven't recovered from Bob Jones wanting Maori to mow his lawn or whatever that kerfuffle was about.

By the way if you are going to continue to claim to be an aging white male an updated profile photo may be in order. You look far too young to carry the authority of an old timer.

Personally I have decided to embrace my Boomer-white male-patriarchal label and have become even grumpier and blunter than usual. Its quite good fun.

boudicca said...

I'm one of those who voted for Labour last year without knowing what was coming - because WE WERE NOT TOLD ABOUT IT. He Puapua was deliberately kept hidden from us. Much regretted choice and now doing my best to rid this country of Jacinda and her ideologically dangerous mob

Trev1 said...

Yes Karl, it was reassuring to see Matt McCarten speaking out on the importance of free speech which as he says is not a Left or Right thing, it is fundamental to all sides of the national discussion. Martyn Bradbury is also today calling for Ardern to abandon her Woke agenda and tend to the issues that really matter for Labour's core vote like housing. The arrogance of this cabal is breathtaking, but so are their folly and ignorance. Every day they are alienating thousands of supporters, hence their almost ten point slump in the polls over the last two months. We as individuals must continue to resist. Has everyone completed their submission on the hate speech law? You have just two days left. Give your support also to the farmers' Groundswell protest. Much will likely be asked of us in the coming months, let's not be found wanting.

Nick Green said...


Thank you. You have absolutely nailed what I have been thinking. Thank you.

Max said...

As always, not much to disagree with Karl.

One point though......there is no such thing as the Significant Natural Areas Act.... the SNA programme is prescribed in the RMA and has been an obligation of local authorities for ages.

For some reason it seems that the latest round of SNA identification exercises (probably mostly as a part of District Plan reviews) seems to have provoked a negative response from affected (and maybe offended?) parties......and it’s good to see.

In my view however, a more sinister instrument for rural/undeveloped lands is the proposed National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity.......currently under James Shaw's stewardship, and due to be released before years end. If we think the impact of SNAs on private property are a concern, we ain't seen nothing yet!

Kimbo said...

While I agree with the general tenor and share your concerns about the speed of this government's changes, along with there incompetence at the more mundane but necessary aspects of running NZ Inc, a couple of thoughts:

First, all reformers are usually criticised for moving "too fast", indeed, as per Roger Douglas who was instrumental in the last radical reformed we underwent a generation and a half ago, if you want to implement significant reform, you move at breakneck speed on a broad range of fronts, circumventing, avoiding and ignoring opposition as you do so. And those in favour will praise you as "courageous change-agents", while those agin will decry you as "anti-democratic and arrogant". Such is human nature and also the nature of politics. Mind you it may be true that at its best, "politics is the art of the possible", but it is one thing starting a revolution, it is something else taking it somewhere productive and equitable. Both 1789 in France and 1971 in Russia spring to mind.

Bottomline: irrespective of the amorphous lack of substance in Labour's 2020 campaign (and you could argue the same about Labour, Lange and Douglas 1984!), Ardern has a mandate and it seems she intends to use it. Such is the nature of our unicameral Westminster system of government, especially when the one local constitutional check on executive power - MMP - delivers the outlier of an absolute majority to one party.

Kimbo said...

Also, in the interests of furthering a "balanced, nuanced debate...about colonisation and its effects" it is important IMHO for the sake of historical accuracy to establish that the "abolition of slavery, endless tribal warfare and cannibalism" among Maori preceded the colonial rule of the British Crown on February 6 1840. Instead - and, yes, you can argue it was part of a wider "colonialism", Maori radically transformed themselves before that date by being radically transformed through the widespread and deep-seated embrace of Christianity, which caused them to draw back from the abyss of destruction that the likes of Hongi Hika and Te Rauparaha wrought during the musket wars of the 1820s to mid-1830s. Indeed, while there was some opposition to Christianity among tangata whenua, it is no exaggeration to say that in the years immediately leading up to 6 February 1840, Maori had adopted wholesale a religion that originated in a 1st Century Middle Eastern province of the Roman Empire, and was mediated to them via British (and one French Roman Catholic) missionaries, and had very much made it their own.

To that end it is a misnomer to think that Hobson had any real immediate martial power to "enforce" the rule of the Crown and attendant "colonial/Western/civilised" (pick your preferred descriptor) values in the immediate days and years following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Wairau Affray of 1843, when 18 NZ Company settlers from Nelson were killed, and the then-Governor FitzRoy found that there was no case for which Te Rangihaeata and Ngati Toa had to answer was partly driven by the bare facts of the matter. Nonetheless, there was also the reality that even if FitzRoy had wanted to bring Maori to account via the justice system at his disposal, the Crown had neither the resources, nor the political leverage to do so, such was the disparity between Pakeha settlers and the number and military resources of tangata whenua, indeed just Ngati Toa alone at the time. The only thing that the settlers could do was agitate successfully to have the hapless FitzRoy removed, to be replaced by the more ruthless George Grey.

Instead, after the relative stalemate of the first New Zealand War of the 1840s in the far-North, the "tipping-point in the balance" between Maori and settlers only arrived when the later exceeded the former in number in 1859. That was a generation after the establishment of government by the Crown. And again, a generation after the "abolition of slavery, endless tribal warfare and cannibalism" among Maori.

And it is no coincidence that that demographic change was soon followed by the beginning of the Second New Zealand War in Taranaki in 1861. That conflict was started on the dubious pretext of enforcing a land purchase from a local chief who didn't have the authority to sell. And cynically letting the Taranaki conflagration spread gave the Crown a second pretext to invade the Waikato to put down the alleged rebellion ("civil war" was a arguably more accurate description) and non-existent threat to Auckland, with confiscations following once the opposition was extinguished.

Kimbo said...

From those decisions the future for Atiawa and Tainui were arguably very different compared to the path of development which they were undergoing at the time. Tainui, for example, were supplying not only Auckland with wheat, but also exporting it to California. A remarkable feat for those who, just a generation or so before, were a highly sophisticated stone age people. And I intend that last sentence to be both an accurate and non-pejorative technical appraisal that both described Tainui as they once were, and how quickly they were transforming themselves to integrate and thrive in the fast-changing world of the mid 19th Century. And it says much for the fraught and emotionally over-simulated times in which we live that extremists at BOTH ends of the "colonial history of Aoteroa/New Zealand" spectrum would likely find something in the statement at which to object!

Mind you, the current self-flagellation concerning all things European and/or colonial gives the impression that what I have outlined above is some new discovery. It isn't, indeed I learned it from the likes of the texts of Sir Keith Sinclair when I did 7th Form Bursary History as far back as 1983 - and Sinclair was producing his research in the 1950s and 1960s.

Who knows? Maybe the best way for our collective national future is the "Maorification" of many of our institutions and systems of government. Give to Maori the ability and resources to navigate their lives. Can it be worse than assimilationist models of the past that impose a one-size-fits-all model that erroneously engages with tangata whenua as if they are brown-skinned Europeans. But like immigration and religion, the chances of having a mature discussion are likely hopeless and the loud, strident and cynical voices, breathlessly reported by our media will dominate. And the politicians who move at breakneck pace will win the day, as they sometimes do. 

Unknown said...

Thank God .....or whatever diety you believe in.... that someone is representing basic NZers views other than the very biased left wing press we have in Godzone!

fredonas said...

You summarise the current malaise afflicting NZ and other Western countries well but I fear you may be a voice in the wilderness given the reluctance of the bought-off MSM to publish anything other than marxist boilerplate. Keep fighting the good fight.

Phil said...

Karl, you may have noticed an article this week specifically attacking you. I am curious why a well known left wing blogger/journalist has singled you out when some of his own articles contain similar themes. Is it a case of a paid hit piece?

Johnston said...

Changing road signs is progress and so changing the country's name must be the biggest progress of all... My God, Aotearoa or New Zealand?" is going to be a maddening however-long-it-takes-for-the-debate-to-die since the flag debate.

Surely, it's just like the flag debate, a big national distraction? One that will go nowhere but generate a lot of op-eds and give MPs relief from the threat of questions about something that matters, questions which they could allow to make them seem incompetent or stupid, or, in the most desirable of cases, let bruise cultural egos or inflame the need, psychological and culturally Catholic if now sublimated to the unconscious, to acknowledge sin and express repentance.

The latter eventuality is highly preferable as it does not just deflect from difficult questions but typically casts the questioner as beyond serious engagement; usefully, in a way that makes it difficult for conversation partners to address claims on their merit or discover the speaker's intention. Because one only has to feel hurt, and point out something that a speaker says that could be interpreted as being hurtful to one's feelings, and affirm one's identity, play Rosa Parkes, and get a pat on the head from an opinion writer.

The Pakeha typically fulfils the masochistic role, which is not required for the dominant role player to fulfil theirs but required of the masochist or masochist-by-circumstance if they want to be seen to have achieved or to be on the road to achieving repentance. Some parade like Tractarians, which they must enjoy or have come to believe is cosmologically necessary. Freud might say they are people who live in shame and apology because they were not potty trained by the time they were dropped off at kindergarten.

The Pakeha is necessary to the Maori or erstwhile minority. What they intended is not important. If you have ever visited a dominatrix, you might appreciate how that kind of deal might be attractive to the masochist Pakeha. "Aotearoa" is the Maori position, "New Zealand" is the white position. Luckily, it also doesn't matter whether the person taking the Pakeha position is Pakeha, Maori, or of another minority, because they can be said to have "internalised whiteness" and so be defacto white.

Yes, you have to be really silly to get to worked up about the naming of the country, if you really care about it that much. It's not a debate because the debate is pitched in terms of good guys and bad guys, and as we all know the good persons always win since Jacinda Ardern's been Prime Minister.

The racialization of everything, every debate and every political disagreement and now the foistering on us of another "national debate" where there wasn't one before is helpful to an incompetent government and a hopelessly lost opposition.

To us, it should be meaningless, just as it is meaningless against all the measures the government laid out to later measure itself with - housing, homelessness, etcetera.

For the political and strategic geniuses in the National Party who neither have the the habits of serious readers nor the mental agility and seriousness to be able to see what sits right beside them and understand what's in it - the philosophy and history section of the Parliamentary library, including several books on the history and philosophy of science - the debate will prove intractable. There's no Marcus Aurelius among them, that's for sure.

No, we will suffer an endless bore of opinion pieces, as we did with the "flag debate", but it will be that much nastier and more racialized, as befits the times. The opposition will play their part wittingly or not.

And it ain't over. There are literally thousands of street signs to contend with, not to mention road names, the names of institutions - it will be endless and all equally useful to our hopeless political class and lazy media.

MarkJ said...

Another great article Karl. One expects the government would love to silence you with a sizable "grant", but I expect they couldn't afford the price of your silence or compliance. The last bastion of free speech appears to be guarded by those on the fringe of the MSM, and I for one thank you for your efforts in providing a counterpoint here.

Karl du Fresne said...

Max,
My reference to the Significant Natural Areas "Act" was a careless mistake. Thanks for pointing it out.

Karl du Fresne said...

Russell Parkinson,
I passed the three-score-years-and-ten mark last year, so I can legitimately claim old white bloke status. But you're right - that photo was taken several years ago and needs to be updated.

Brendan McNeill said...

Thank you Karl

There are so few voices of such reason and clarity in the public domain. We are blessed and encouraged by your continued contribution.

David George said...

Thanks Kimbo, I agree, the widespread acceptance of Christianity, at least acceptance of it's insistence on the intrinsic divinity of the individual, was a major factor in the ending of the musket wars a few years before the Treaty. The end of the early arms advantage afforded to Hongi, for example, another factor perhaps.

Hongi Hika, the most powerful man in New Zealand at one time (and my 4 x great grandfather) never became a Christian but helped translate The Bible so he was nothing if not a complex character. Self serving war criminal but an ally of the missionaries; intelligent but capricious and vengeful.

It's hard to imagine what it was like living through those times for the Maori; something akin to what the arrival of an advanced, powerful civilisation from another world would be like for us today perhaps. I think that the obvious and growing realisation of a massive disparity in technology, wealth and power played a big part. Certainly Hongi's visit to England would have left no doubt in his mind where the future lay. A lot of the perception of potency, the respect and legitimacy, of the Chiefs and of the Maori religious pantheon would have been deeply diminished as a consequence. Understandable for people imbued with a firm belief in supernatural forces as the explanation for pretty much everything?

It was this, the recognition of the inevitable end of the pre-eminence of the tribe and of the old and, by comparison, demonstrably failed traditions, not force, that led to the end of the musket wars and the general acceptance of the agreement at Waitangi in 1840.

Unknown said...

Aotearoa is not even a Maori word, it is a European hoax
We are talking here about the name Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud.
It is being promoted, and not for the first time, as a replacement for the old-fashioned, miss pelt moniker New Zealand, which, in the eyes of the politically correct, reeks of the Dutch, clogs, windmills and European colonialists in general.
The majority of New Zealanders, including most Maori, have been through an education process which has convinced them that the original Maori name for the country was Aotearoa, and that this was arbitrarily replaced by European invaders.
Strenuous attempts have been made to try to link Aotearoa to pre-European usage. Frankly, it is all bollocks.
Historian Michael King exposed the myth once and for all when he pointed out that Aotearoa was selected and popularized as a romantic Maori name for our islands by Pakeha writers such as William Pember Reeves and Stephenson Percy Smith, as well as the Education Department’s School Journal.
With propaganda like the school journal (catch the little darlings when they are young and they are yours for life), the theory flourished till it became an established fact.
It is now politically incorrect to raise a questioning voice.
The problem is that early Maori were a collection of tribes, not a nation. There was no postal system or communication with the outside world, no diplomatic missions, so there was no need for a collective name for this archipelago and its inhabitant’s.
.
The widespread use of Aotearoa followed the arrival of the Europeans. It was not heard of until the late 19 century. But up till the 20th century the name applied to the North Island only (or parts of the North Island).
Maori generally adopted the name Niu Tireni, a transliteration of New Zealand. Various sources cite Te Ika a Maui (the fish of Maui) as a widely used name for the North Island.

Mark Hubbard said...

Gutted your lost the NBR column Karl. But that venue is getting worrisome these days.

Trev1 said...

Kimbo: Ardern received a mandate at last year's election to protect our borders and deliver the vaccine rollout. She does not have a mandate to subvert our constitution and turn New Zealand into a race-based State.

Karl du Fresne said...

Mark,
Someone has drawn my attention to the Tweet in which you say I was fired by NBR. That's not the case. My contract with them was cancelled at my behest. Neither did I say (or even imply) that NBR was "scared", although you're free to draw that inference. I deliberately avoided going into any detail about what transpired between NBR and me.

Mark Hubbard said...

Fair enough Karl.

But, NBR are losing the plot as far as I'm concerned: clear to see in the new writers comfortable writing for them, and those not.

Unknown said...

Welcome to the club Karl. I used to write the Shoeshine column for NBR, I suspect I was better respected than any other columnist they had writing this post. This all ended when they heavily edited a column of mine which amongst other things suggested that the global warming thing was over egged (thou shall not question or mock the "catastrophe" narrative). In losing me they created a huge hole for themselves and probably lost a few readers.

I came to the conclusion that journalists write for the respect of other journalists, that they don't dear publish something which their peers would disagree with. They don't write for subscribers or even profit. And so it is with you, NBR readers would have loved your columns. There is no way forsaking a talented columnist like you at the meagre money they would be paying is a commercial decision. Just more madness to try to understand in this crazy world.

Roger Armstrong

Karl du Fresne said...

Thank you Roger. Actually, the money was quite generous (well, by newspaper standards).

Kimbo said...

@ Trev1

...and yet those who lost in 1984 are still complaining, often rather tediously some 37 years later, that Roger Douglas allegedly didn't have a mandate for his reforms either. And yet they were done, and in most cases remain that way

Rhetoric and posturing aside, if you have the numbers in Parliament, then under our system of representative government you have the mandate for a whole bunch of stuff, irrespective of your previous detailed manifesto (as if such a thing exists anymore!) and election campaigning.

Which is why the only constitutional means to stop Ardern's apparent plans is the next round at the ballot box, scheduled at this stage for over two years time.

Nigel said...

Kimbo, I'm fine with an increase in 'Maorification' but certainly not with the govt's policy of using state resources to fund race based experimentation in education , healthcare etc .

Kimbo said...

@ Nigel

Well, as the current system - health, education, social welfare, justice (among others) don’t seem to be “working” for Māori, it’s not surprising there are voices among tangata whenua to have control over “their share” of the tax take to try alternatives that are arguably more suitable.

Personally, given that aforementioned failure, I’m not close-minded. The definition of insanity is to keep on trying the same thing expecting a different result for Māori.

But there are two caveats:

1. The devil is in the detail.

2. While it is an idea that may be worth trying, the track record of consistent failure to execute means the current government almost certainly does not have the requisite competence to make it work successfully.

Nigel said...

Kimbo ,

I'm not sure how for example the health system isn't working for Maori as all races are treated the same and have been for years(triage) . If Maori want a bigger take of scarce resources in health then that's on it's face theft .
It's actually corrupt politicians engaging in immoral experimental intervention .

Kimbo said...

I’d suggest the health system doesn’t work for Maori in that it is that demographic of that most of the negative stats - lower life expectancy, diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, etc., occur. Same may want to ascribe that only to “poor individual lifestyle choices”, but I think that would be as ideologically-obsessed as the “everything is a result of systemic racism” brigade.

Either way, a particular demographic of New Zealanders are suffering poor health stats (and education, and justice and...), so in principle anything that can maybe improve that situation beyond the “one size fits all” (as per your “Māori as all races are treated the same”) model is worth exploring.

John Penman said...

Thanks Karl. Great to read more of your common sense again. So easy to concur with. But also refreshing to be able to read it, when as most in the MSM just parrot the Government narrative. Pleased to see that you resigned your contract with NBR. Principles are vital for a free press and a nation moving forward. Hopefully many more subscribers , will send they NBR a message and cancel or not renew their subscriptions. Editing OPEd’s, because the Publisher doesn’t agree with your views, doesn’t seem like it fits into any Code of Journalism Ethics , that I was aware of. Maybe I’m totally naive? Good on you for parting ways with NBR and advising your followers around the actual circumstances.
I’d guess that your views now represent many more New Zealanders than we would even imagine. Just hearing the buzz on the streets and the anecdotal evidence is quite telling. I’ve never seen so many Kiwis so angry and motivated as I have in these last 1-3 years . It’s not just a baby boomer change , it’s also many young Kiwi’s , who thought that Jacinda might be a breath of fresh air in 2017. Many are now totally disenchanted once her idealistic bubble burst and generally on Labour’s inability to deliver on their promises or govern and manage effectively. Once the MSM gave in to the great Labour Government bribe or the “Pravda” contribution or alliance, as you so rightly deem it, then the reach of our commonly held views is severely limited. Of course thats the intent of doing it. But maybe the Morgan Poll of NZ Political leaders & party popularity run out of Australia , a few weeks back is the real measure. It confirmed I think a 9-10% drop in Labour’s popularity since the October 2020 election. The “brave spin doctors” in Ardern’s Team have told her to claim it’s a drop because of “Covid fatigue.” Maybe the “staunch never change Labour diehards” actually believe her, but of course even she doesn’t believe it. Keep up the great work Karl.

Karl du Fresne said...

John,
Thank you for your comments, but one small point of clarification. I've made no public comment about the circumstances of my disagreement with NBR other than in the preamble to my blog post. Any other information that might be circulating didn't come from me. Cheers, Karl

Nigel said...

Kimbo ,

You're justifying the use of state totalitarianism to fix the age old issue of inequality that doesn't even work .

Unknown said...

I am an old Leftie too 30 + years of Labour votes, always paying my way and giving back to those less well off. Within 2 months of this government, I was gutted.

I sent a very polite email to JA saying I understand the value in what you are trying to do but I suggest you deal with the big ticket items such as housing and poverty because it is what most of NZers voted you in for and that once you do that, NZ will give you a mandate to make some of these more ambitious changes.

I told her that many of us on the left expected a social democrat and not a liberal socialist and that we were scared her pursuit of social change would queer the pitch for future labour governments. We had waited so long to have a government who would care for the poor and that if she got it wrong, Labour would not get back in for decades to come and by that time NZ would be so degraded by under investment etc and social deprivation that it could never be fixed.

No response, I tried Aunty Helen (who did respond) saying much the same, not long after we got comments coming out about 'social change' and 'people feeling left behind'. Later this morphed into Andrea Vance's? piece on 'Transformational Change is Hard'.

So they know very clearly what they are doing and what they are risking and yet even with the knowledge early on that they had disaffected 20% of core Labour voters, they have doubled down and gone for the gold.

My values havent changed but I will never again in my lifetime vote Labour. They have betrayed New Zealand on a fundamental level by not delivering on items that will make a difference to those who need it most and they have arrogantly thrown away democracy like last years shoes.