Chris Trotter

Hey Chris, one protest does not a change of government make

Chris Trotter is off in lala-land again today, whimsically over-stating the impact of 5000 smelly hippies blocking up the Auckland CBD.

Parliament resumes sitting on Tuesday, 9 February. The slow wending of the TPPA document through numerous select committee hearings; followed by the Government’s enabling bill’s passage through the four stages of parliamentary debate; both will provide excellent opportunities for carefully targeted protest action. Likewise, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trades’ (MFAT’s) travelling road-show of public presentations intended to “sell” the Government’s pro-TPPA position to the electorate. All should be seen as educative political events, reinforcing the anti-TPPA’s core messages of diminished national sovereignty and a deepening democratic deficit.

The public’s appetite for protest action evaporated when half a million workers were seriously inconvenienced by the rowdies in Auckland. That protest was as big as you are going to get, and it wasn’t as big as you claimed it was. Don’t kid yourself pal. The TPPA does not diminish our sovereignty…if it does then so does every other treaty, including the Treaty of Waitangi, but I don’t see anyone else calling for those treaties to be renounced. Neither does the TPPA create a democratic deficit. For goodness sake you all claimed the end of our democracy was nigh, but where you all are marching the streets, enjoying freedom of association, freedom of speech and not a single person was arrested. It seems the democracy and our freedoms are perfectly intact despite your claims.   Read more »

Martyn Bradbury’s TPP riots results in advice to nearby businesses to stay closed

Martyn Bradbury has been talking up riots for this week. Chris Trotter has attempted to mitigate the actions of Bradbury, but the fact he is mentioning the potential of violence suggests that some on the left are planning for it.

Such is Bradbury’s ill-informed ranting that businesses are now being advised to stay closed on February 4.

Auckland Council workers are being told avoid the city centre if they can during demonstrations against the TPP.

Several protests and hikoi are expected to march up Queen Street and end at SkyCity, where the agreement is expected to be signed.

Auckland Council has advised staff that if they can work somewhere other than at their headquarters near SkyCity, then they should.   Read more »

Trotter wants Labour’s history expunged

Chris Trotter thinks that until Andrew Little expunges Labour’s neo-liberal history they will be forever hamstrung in their long march to the left.

Not only has Phil Goff’s “dispensation” to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) not pulled Labour’s ranks together (quite the reverse!) it has also been seized upon by Labour’s opponents to discredit the party’s anti-TPPA stance.

The TPPA endorsements of former Labour leaders — from Mike Moore and Helen Clark to Phil Goff and David Shearer — have been a godsend for the agreement’s supporters. “What can be so wrong with the TPPA”, they demand, “when four out of the last six Labour leaders support it?”

It’s a fair question, but one which Labour – for fear of re-opening the old wounds of the 1980s and 90s – is loath to answer. At some point, however (and it may have arrived) the Labour Party is going to have to confront the ghosts of its Rogernomics past and lay them, finally, to rest.

Quite how he is going to achieve that is worth exploring. It is always fun watching blood and guts fly.

There is simply no upside to being utterly defenceless before your history. Labour may be ready to reclaim its progressive heritage – as its position on the TPPA makes clear. But, unfortunately, as Goff’s “dispensation” makes clear, it’s still not ready to repudiate 25 years of neoliberalism.

Labour members and supporters have been in the ears of Labour MPs for decades, urging them to cast adrift the barge-load of rotting ideological garbage that the party has been towing behind it since the 1980s. They also suggested the enforced retirement of every MP who refuses to acknowledge the stench. All to no avail. The Bible says: “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” Unfortunately, far too many of Labour’s dogs never left!

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Trotter on Labour’s education policy

Chris Trotter doesn’t seem too enamoured with Labour’s education policy.

THERE’S A HOLE in Labour’s emerging policy framework – through which too little light is getting in. The party’s latest big announcement: three years of free post-school education; is a case in point. As a headline, it’s fantastic. But, Labour supporters’ euphoria is unlikely to survive the policy’s fine print. Nearly a decade will pass before the plan is fully implemented – but only if  Labour wins the 2017, 2020 and 2023 elections on the trot. It’s not quite a case of  giving something with one hand, only to snatch it back with the other – but it’s close.

And why is Labour unwilling to offer three years of free tertiary level education in its first budget? Because it’s not yet ready to adopt a social-democratic fiscal policy to pay for its social-democratic education policy. That’s the hole – and it’s a bloody dangerous one!

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The problem with Trotter’s Analysis

andrew little labour leader

Chris Trotter writes a long article about why the Labour Party might have a hope of winning in 2017.

He makes the point that National are a pack of dullards, recognised by business as having done bugger-all in their seven years in power, and harks back to the glory days of the 4th Labour Government.

It’s an extraordinarily clever move on Robertson’s part. The NZ Herald’s “Mood of the Boardroom” revealed that, while appreciated as a canny election-winner, Key is not regarded as the political and economic innovator New Zealand so desperately needs. With his radically innovative and politically transgressive “Future of Work” policy package, Robertson should be able to pass the hat around New Zealand’s major enterprises with every hope of receiving more than polite refusals.

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INCITE: Politics Summer Edition released

pablo (5)

Our latest edition of INCITE: Politics has been released. It will be in subscribers’ inboxes as you read this.

In this month’s edition we have contributions from Chris Trotter, Don Brash, David Farrar and Jock Anderson, as well as the usual contributions from Simon Lusk and myself.

  • Chris Trotter asks a very hard question
  • David Farrar provides some long-term predictions
  • Don Brash investigates Auckland’s affordable housing issue
  • Jock Anderson discusses a very interesting case before the courts

Read more »

Summer Edition of INCITE: Politics almost ready


We are just putting the final touches to the Summer Edition of INCITE: Politics.

Our designer and proofer was enjoying a much-earned holiday this weekend but it should be ready for delivery later tonight or tomorrow morning.

In this month’s edition we have contributions from Chris Trotter, Don Brash, David Farrar and Jock Anderson, as well as the usual contributions from Simon Lusk and myself.

  • Chris Trotter asks a very hard question
  • David Farrar provides some long-term predictions
  • Don Brash investigates Auckland’s affordable housing issue
  • Jock Anderson discusses a very interesting case before the courts

Read more »

Summer Edition of “INCITE: Politics” nearly completed


We are just finalising copy for the Summer Edition of INCITE: Politics and it will be ready shortly for dissemination to subscribers.

In this month’s edition we have contributions from Chris Trotter, Don Brash, David Farrar and Jock Anderson, as well as the usual contributions from Simon Lusk and myself.

We will also be looking at potential leadership options, what Labour can do about their dead wood and John Key’s not-so-secret strategy that is bleeding resources and support from Labour.   Read more »

Trotter on Labour’s case for political euthanasia

Following on from my post about the Guardian observations on Labour, there is a piece by Chris Trotter at the ODT.

With the old year having shuffled towards the wings of the political stage, the infant year arrives garlanded with many questions.

For those who position themselves on the left of the political spectrum, the biggest of these questions concerns the future of the Labour Party.

Love it or hate it, Labour is the sun around which all the other progressive parties and institutions of New Zealand’s political life must orbit. Its gravitational pull being inescapable, Labour’s fate and the fate of the Left in general are inseparable.

Significantly, 2016 marks the centenary of Labour’s birth.

Labour is 100 years old this year. Most people, when they get to 100 years old, probably actually wish they could die sometime soon.

One hundred years on, perhaps predictably, it is led by colourless political careerists: men and women lacking the character, courage and creative intelligence to be genuine revolutionaries, or even effective reformers.

Labour in 2016 is a party dominated by members of Parliament who seem to be simply waiting their turn to form a government. Labour’s view of politics is, at best, instrumental. Her advisers argue that if the voting public can no longer be inspired (a proposition with which they heartily concur), then it must be manipulated.   Read more »

Trotter picks a tory for pollie of the year

Knock me down with a feather, Chris Trotter has picked Bill English as his politician of the year.

What makes me reluctant to award the accolade of Politician of the Year to John Key, however, is his apparent lack of interest in the lives of the 50 per cent of New Zealanders who don’t vote for the National Party, and for whom John Key is not the preferred Prime Minister. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that true political greatness is to be measured by what a politician (and government) does: not only for the lucky and the strong, but also for the weak and unfortunate.

Now, at this point you may be thinking that I’m about to bestow the accolade upon someone from the Opposition’s ranks. You would, however, be wrong. Because 2015 has not been a year in which anyone from the Opposition parties has offered the weak and the unfortunate very much at all – not even that most subversive of emotions — hope.

No, the politician I have in mind is the one who labours away in the engine-room of Key’s Government. The one who keeps the wheels of the economy turning, and international investors smiling.   Read more »