A left-wing think-tank, and we mean LEFT-wing



Writes Sue: 

For decades activists and intellectuals as diverse as Bruce Jesson, Annette Sykes, Brian Easton, Jane Kelsey and Bryce Edwards have lamented the lack of any progressively oriented policy institution capable of mounting a serious challenge to the neoliberal hegemony which has dominated New Zealand’s political life since the 1980s.

Sitting around making up ideas isn’t a bad thing in and of itself.  But unless you have the means to manage them into reality, it is just a lot of intellectual self-pleasuring.

It is cautious, deliberative work building an organisation without major funding support. Our ability to progress all the activities in which we would ideally like to engage is inhibited by a lack of paid staff and resources. But we have come a long way already and feel sure that our current model of quiet, determined long-haul organising will lay the groundwork for a thriving ESRA, working for the better, more hopeful future to which we are committed.

And good on them.  It is a constructive way to participate in the discourse and the attempt to make society better as they see it.



  • BR

    Good on them??

    These people are hard line communists. Whatever they have in mind will cost everyone their freedom, their money and their property rights.

    A pox on every one of them.


    • Rosco

      I will defend your right to free speech and criticism till the end of days, as long as I maintain my right to ridicule what you say. Yes good on them – I probably won’t agree with them but one handed clapping has a very empty “sound”. Good decisions are made through good argument – we need to hear all sides to the story – NZ politics is in serious trouble due to the lack of a decent opposition. We need good and deliberate argument. Blanket statements and personal vitriol does not an argument make. Be a part of the answer, not a part of the problem.

    • jaundiced

      Don’t worry. There’s some benefits:

      1. They won’t have any impact on anything
      2. Better than annoying and pointless protests
      3. Bryce Edwards has abandoned any pre-text of being an independent commentator
      4. Watching intellectual lightweights attempting to ‘mount a serious challenge to the neoliberal hegemony’ will be entertaining
      5. See 1) above

    • Kevin

      Some time ago Bradford wrote a letter to the Herald saying in not so many words that she was a communist. Mind you, this was at least 25 years ago so her politics may have mellowed since then. But I don’t think so.

    • CheesyEarWax

      Correct. Communists thinks they knows best for everyone, I guess thats why they call themselves “intellectuals”.

  • john Doe

    Perhaps the first research project could be the effect and impact that the anti smacking law has had on society one generation on. I would suggest that their findings would result in a move to get rid of the legislation. Now that would be useful.

    • jimknowsall

      No, they would just puzzle at why few if any parents had been convicted of smacking their children and demand that more normal, caring parents are hauled over the coals for “reasonable chastisement”.

      • MaryLou

        And why the “manslaughter” of babies continues.

  • jimknowsall

    Any organisation that puts Aotearoa in its title is going to be just so achingly PC that you can normally ignore what they have to say anyway.

    • Larry

      And includes the words “neoliberal hegemony” in a fifty word sentence. Even Mr google couldn’t help me.

  • sandalwood789

    I can sum up their ideas – higher taxes and more taxes.
    Done. No think-tank needed.

    • helicapt

      If they don’t like it – BAN IT.
      If they do like it, make it compulsory and TAX IT!
      I come from New Zealand. They haven’t changed the name…..yet.

    • Jman

      Oh there will be more to it than that.
      – Government to take over as much as possible that is currently in private hands.
      – Give it all to Maori.
      – Massively increase refugee and third world intake
      etc etc

      • sandalwood789

        What gets me is how on earth the left can think that they have anything to contribute to economic policy.

        The left are as familiar with (and as good with) economic policy as an Amazonian jungle tribe is with computers.

        The left are followers of the failed and discredited ideology of socialism. I can only guess that the reason they don’t realise that socialism is a failure is because being a leftie is like being in a religious cult. No deviation from “the approved line” is permitted. No “impure thoughts” are allowed.

  • Wolfman Jack

    Be nice to know when they have their meetings. Could hire rent a mob and harass attendees, and use bullhorns to drown out the speakers

    • sandalwood789

      Great idea! Give them a dose of their own medicine….. :)

  • phronesis

    How are we meant to tell them apart from the many other left wing thank tanks in NZ? (sometimes known as Universities)

  • Spiker

    If nothing else their ideas serve to remind us that things could be far worse than they are. Without them we have nothing to compare the status quo with. So yes, their work is necessary and has value.

  • Hard1

    “It is cautious, deliberative work building an organisation without major funding support.”

    Well Sue, just continue to use your freebase in Onehunga in the Unite Union building, and you can all use your computers to communicate. You can collectively use part of your middle-class salaries to provide the minor funding support.
    But what do you need major funding support for? Airfares, Hotels and Cars?

    As building any organization relies on consensus to progress beyond the thinking stage, and this is easily achieved through digital communications, with one major caveat. The new Digital Communications Law, which means any internet communication must advise the recipient that ;
    “This message and any attachments may contain confidential and privileged information. This email and any attachment is confidential and may be legally privileged. If you believe you have received this email in error, please advise us immediately by return email or telephone and then delete this email together with all attachments. If you are not the intended recipient, you are not authorised to use or copy this message or any attachments or disclose the contents to any other person.”

    Good luck with keeping legal.

    • F T Bear

      I thought they were arranging the funding in the photo,
      Aren’t they at the end of the rainbow?

    • Wheninrome

      Don’t forget the ear of her daughter on TV

  • Sally

    I would of thought Martyn Bradbury would fit right in amongst this lot. If they are looking for advice he must be their man.

    • Duchess of Pork

      And where is John Minto. Has there been a parting of ways?

      • MaryLou

        He’s still trying to be Mayor.

  • Hard1

    With a nod to Geoff Fischer:
    “Despite that, there will be obstacles in the path of such an initiative. Even if the funds can be found to launch and sustain the left-wing think tank project, the essential element of “thought” may be lacking. If the left is incapable of profound thought in its many and various existing parties and associations, why would things be any different when a selection of those same individuals who presently make up the left are assembled under the banner of a “think tank”? Would the name itself make the difference? Would the selective nature of its membership make a difference? I suspect that neither would be the case. If the left is not capable of creating a coherent, cohesive and astute political movement or party, why should we expect it to be able to establish a think tank which would be all those things?”

  • bilgewater

    Good on them. Just remember to argue the case on the facts as you see them. Don’t hold placards or prevent people going about their business.

  • Bombastic

    Would some one please take Sue’s fancy adjectives off her. They make it too hard to take her seriously.

  • Joe Banana

    Bradford would’nt know what a neoliberal was let alone the meaning and proper use of hegemony

    • Keeping Stock

      I thought she was talking about a new species of plant for hedges!

      • sandalwood789

        It’s a new element found in hedges! A bit like antimony…… ;P

  • sandalwood789

    This think-tank is likely to be a great example of the Dunning-Kruger effect in action –

    • Boss Hogg

      Excellent Link – Thank you. The John Cleese clip wraps it all up perfectly. Cheers!!

    • H. Upmann

      “people who are too stupid to know how stupid they are”……what else is there to say?

  • Doc45

    Many of her group are lecturing or students at Auckland Uni. That must be a hot bed a ‘reds’.

  • Simo

    Think No Tanked Yes – Any constructive and realistic policy No…Just deep and meaningful 200 year old gobbledegook.

  • kayaker

    She had me until ‘neoliberal’ then it was eyes glazed over, then a new word! …’hegemony’. No disrespect, but this could go right over the heads of those in ESRA’s catchment.

  • Wheninrome

    If the idea was popular with the masses ie majority as per democracy, they would have no problem funding their idea, people would generously give.

  • OT Richter

    You lost me at “Jane Kelsey”.

    Que the Herald regurgitating everything they publish like it was gospel, and without a single fact check.

  • Mikev

    Bradford needs to look up the meaning of diverse. All in agreement, on the same side, brainwashed in the same way etc is not diverse.

  • D.Dave

    I give up as soon as I see any organisation embracing the term “Aotearoa” in their moniker. It just screams leftie, handwringing, bludging group wanting to spend other peoples money. Why can they not use “New Zealand”, are they ashamed of it? They probably think there isn’t a dollar in it for them.

  • benniedawg

    Leftist thinking, self pleasuring, hot air and related garbage that will be generated. Rather than a think tank maybe they have more the makings of a septic tank. Probably wont be a very efficient one either as it will have to rely on anaerobic decomposition. However, nothing unusual here as leftist policies and thinking are inevitably oxygen starved.

  • WBC

    Why would their think tank be hindered by a lack of money? Isn’t that internally contradictory to the type of things they’re thinking about?

    Does this mean the joke has already had it’s punchline before the setup even begins?

  • XCIA

    Kelsey could fund this nonsense herself considering the outrageous amounts of money she blags from the public purse.

  • Rick H

    At long last, what?

    Now, the Left wingers will be free to discuss stuff without being on a stage debating with Right Wingers.
    I reckon Andy will even let his guys join in.

  • Alloytoo

    I expect an awful lot of regurgitated 60 & 70’s policies.Nothing new has come out of the left since then.

    Socialism, Vapourware since 1905

  • JC

    Suzy Darlin’ just gave the Judas kiss to the credibility and impartiality of Brian Easton and Bryce Edwards.. way to go!