Chris Trotter

Face of the day

Trotter, Chris

Chris Trotter

Today’s face of the day is Chris Trotter for his interesting article about Democratic sausage.

Bobby Kennedy often joked that democracy is like a good sausage: tastes great – but you really don’t want to know what goes into it.



The distinguishing characteristic of left-wing investigative journalism, however, is that its practitioners are never satisfied with just the taste of Democracy’s sausage. They will not rest until a full list of ingredients, how they were combined, and for how long they’ve been cooked, is prepared and presented to the public.

Read more »

Trotter is not that impressed with Andrew Little’s speech

Chris Trotter was asked by Andrew Little’s union minder to publish something about Little’s speech to Grey Power in Whanganui.

I bet Neale Jones spat his dinner all over his keyboard when he read what Trotter has written…it is not complimentary.

As you might imagine, I began the speech with high expectations, but, by the time I had ploughed through the first couple of pages, my mood had subsided to one of mild interest. It’s not that it was a bad speech. Indeed, it stands comparison with most of the speeches crafted by ministerial staffers working in the Beehive. Sadly, that is not a very high bar to clear.

I read Little’s speech too…it was dreadfully boring.

There were hilarious parts to it as well…like his claim that filthy foreigners with chinky sounding names were driving up interest rates…he must have missed the news on the drive to Whanganui that the Reserve Bank that very morning has reduced the Official Cash Rate to its lowest mark ever. Such is the idiocy of Andrew Little who constantly makes statements not based on facts.

Like so many of David Lange’s (Margaret Pope’s?) best lines, “the power of decision” positively vibrates with political meaning. Little’s speechwriters recognised this, but were unable to unpack the significance of the phrase in a way that caused their boss’s text to come alive. Instead they opted to, rather mechanically, link the idea of decision-making to Labour’s stances on overseas speculators, foreign ownership, farm sales, the TPPA, refugees and climate change.

Read more »

Hey Trotter? Phone call…some guy called Daryl Kerrigan is calling

Tino Rangitiratanga flag

Comrade Chris Trotter has had another of his bad days…and he thinks that the one true flag for New Zealand is the Tino Rangatiratanga flag.

THERE’S A HOUSE not far from here that flies the Tino Rangatiratanga flag. Every day, rain or shine, its flutters bravely atop its slender flagpole. A statement? Certainly. But isn’t every flag? The Tino Rangatiratanga flag stands for Maori sovereignty. It’s about the proper relationship between those who came to these islands first and those who came later. In other words, it’s a flag that speaks, directly, to this country’s past, present and future. For that reason, alone, it makes the strongest case for being chosen as the present flag’s replacement. That it is also a superb design merely strengthens its claim.

Tragically, New Zealanders will not be given the opportunity to vote for the Tino Rangatiratanga flag. The government-appointed Flag Consideration Panel has released the four “finalists” from the 40 designs it selected from the more than 10,000 submissions it received – and the Tino Rangatiratanga flag is not among them. (Hardly surprising, really, since it didn’t make the “Top-40” either!)

Even more tragically, not one of the “Final Four” comes close to the Tino Rangatiratanga flag in terms of either graphic power or cultural resonance. Though the Panel was charged with ensuring that any new flag’s design reflected the importance of the Treaty of Waitangi-inspired partnership between Maori and Pakeha, not one of the chosen flags features the red, white and black “colours” that are fundamental to Maori artistic expression. Not to worry, the Panel have carefully covered the base marked “Maori” with a flag featuring a stark black koru. Sorted.

Read more »

I thought it was because he isn’t a tool like Campbell

Chris Trotter has some thoughts on Mike Hosking.

It’s a bit whingy and uses stupid terms like neoliberalism, but he is probably the first lefty to recognise some cold hard facts.

WHEN IT COMES TO RATINGS, Mike Hosking is a winner. He knows it, his employers know it, and, if they’re honest with themselves, the Daily Blog’s firebrands know it too. What he says to Newstalk-ZB’s listeners is, for the most part, well received. Which is why Newstalk-ZB’s breakfast show is the most popular product on commercial radio. Seven Sharp’s viewers, likewise, are insufficiently offended by Hosking’s opinions to change channels. And that’s all anyone has to do, FFS – if they don’t like or approve of Hosking’s shtick – change the bloody station or switch channels. Their forbearance, in the case of Seven Sharp, is what made the programme roughly twice as popular as Campbell Live.

If Chris was honest he could say the same thing about Whaleoil and our readership which is more than all the other blogs in New Zealand combined. There is a reason for that, and it is the same reason as he states above. It is also the reason why the left wing want to take us all down…we are effective, articulate and winning. That is why they resort to criminal actions, false Police complaints and complaints to IRD…using the forces of the state they despise to bully and intimidate.

Though it pains the Left to admit it, Campbell Live was a vehicle for values shared by fewer and fewer New Zealanders. Thirty years of neoliberal hegemony will do that to a country. The social-democratic culture in which Kiwis over 50 were raised, while very far from being dead, can be accessed now only through the indistinct portals of nostalgia. By contrast, the culture which succeeded it, whatever people choose to call it, is everywhere you look. Love it or hate it, this is the culture we are all required to move and function in: the culture that counts.

Read more »

Bogan expert disagrees with Trotter

A dead set bogan expert, a PhD in boganology no less, disagrees with Chris Trotter over Labour targeting bogans for support.

The article is good and certainly needs a bigger audience than the few lamb chop recipe aficionados that infest New Zealand’s premier blog for posts about pots, pans and pannier bags.

First and foremost, there is some initial clarification needed. Being a Bogan is not based on deficit. Perhaps it is due to academic thinking on subcultural groups such as Bogans, typified by the work of academics in the Birmingham tradition such as Hall in Resistance through Rituals, which conceptualised youth cultures as a way for young people to support each other due to class subordination. Their so-called deviant behaviour was viewed as a reaction of working-class youth to structural changes in post-war Britain.

The Birmingham tradition of sub-cultural research is hugely influential to this day, including further research in the 1970s concerning subcultures such as Mods, Rockers, and Skinheads. Chris’s column is reminiscent of this thinking, in his suggestions that Bogans are a response of sorts to Labour’s economic changes in the 1980s, vis-a-visRoger Douglas.

I am not a political scientist. While more research would be needed in the area before a definitive statement could be made, I will say that working class is not a dirty term. The working class have marketable skills; they build your houses, they fix your car, and they replace that o-ring in the tap in your kitchen sink which you really should have done yourself.

They rent a room and not a house because it means more money to buy that gearbox they wanted. They lack tertiary qualifications not because of a lack of intelligence, but because you don’t need a doctorate to get a job as a mechanic when a certificate will do – a job that they enjoy and gives access to a decent work space.

The problem with the Birmingham tradition was that it portrayed subcultural groups as unwitting dupes or victims who banded together due to a lack of voice. While the Birmingham tradition provides a useful base for research into such groups, to apply such thinking to more modern communities silences those the research purports to give voice to. The Bogan, and by extension the working class, are not victims in a modern sense.

Read more »

Trotter suggests Labour replaces Asian votes with Bogan votes


Even though he spelled bogan incorrectly (I looked it up to check) Chris Trotter makes the case for Labour exchanging Asian voters for Bogan voters.

CAN LABOUR WIN the “Bogun Vote”? Should it even try? Seriously, if going after the votes of “Waitakere Man” is considered bad, then pursuing the Bogun Vote must, surely, be worse? And yet, at one time, the in-work, well-remunerated, union-dues-paying, domestically-settled, family man – and his sons – constituted the heart and soul of the Labour vote. Indeed, so irrevocably gendered was the New Zealand working-class vote that the poet, James K. Baxter, made humorous reference to it in his otherwise bleak suburban tragedy, Calvary Street:

Where two old souls go slowly mad,

National Mum and Labour Dad.

In 2015, however, Baxter’s stereotype seems all wrong. Fifty years after the publication of Calvary Street it is Dad who votes for National and Mum who (maybe) votes for Labour. In 2015, the self-employed, well-remunerated, domestically-settled, family man – a.k.a Waitakere Man – is much more likely to vote for the Right than the Left. His children, if they bother to vote at all, probably do the same.

Of course they vote National, most of them are self employed and self sufficient…not bludging, entitled ratbags.

Boguns are very different from, and should never be confused with, the offspring of Waitakere Man. The latter represents working-class New Zealand males on an upward socio-economic trajectory. Boguns, by contrast, represent working-class New Zealand males on the socio-economic skids. They are the blokes – especially the young blokes – who struggle to find and remain in even the most poorly-paid employment. Their domestic situations tend towards the precarious. They rent rooms – not houses – and struggle to both make and retain strong social connections. That’s why mateship is so crucial to the Bogun identity; especially mateship built around sporting allegiances and motor vehicles.

The fathers and grandfathers of 21st Century Boguns were the men for whom the fully employed, compulsorily unionised, welfare state was, primarily, constructed. Men of modest educational attainment and limited ambition who were able, nevertheless, to live full and rewarding lives under the state’s (and their union’s) protection. These were the men who worked for the state-owned Post Office and Railways; whose families occupied state houses; whose award-wages kept them, if not in luxury, then, at least, in reasonable comfort. They were also the Labour Party’s most loyal supporters. That it was Labour, in the person of Roger Douglas, who destroyed their world and cast them and their families onto the scrapheap, is the defining Bogun betrayal.

Read more »

Poor old Chris Trotter, he is back on his Greek delusions

Dear old Chris Trotter, he is back making up wistful stories about the demise of the socialist ratbags in Greece, who seem to believe they can have a free ride paid for by other hard working people like the Krauts.

He thinks there are three groups commenting on the Greek crisis, the first group is the largest and are those who simply don’t care.

Then there are people like me, and most readers of this site who he describes like this:

Then there’s the group that regards the unfolding Greek crisis as a simple morality tale. According to this view, the Greeks awarded themselves a lifestyle they had not earned and paid for it with other people’s money. When the music stopped and their creditors came a-calling, the Greeks were required to discover just how unpleasant life can become when excessive debt falls due. As far as this group is concerned, the Greeks are in the process of being taught some very valuable lessons. On no account, therefore, should the EU be encouraged to remove its knife from Greece’s throat.

Read more »

Trotter comes back from his ‘mare with a ripper

Chris Trotter had a nightmare of a post about the wogs going broke in Greece.

But he has recovered his composure with a great post about how much distress Labour is in.

IF EVERYONE who voted for their Labour candidate in last year’s election had also given Labour their Party Vote, National would have lost. The discrepancy between the two vote tallies is startling. Everybody’s heard about Labour’s woeful 2014 Party Vote. At just 25 percent, it was Labour’s worst electoral performance since 1922. Nowhere near as well known, however, is the number of votes cast for Labour Party candidates across the country’s 71 electorates. That number, at 801,287, is 196,752 larger than the 604,535 Party Votes Labour received. If every Electorate Vote for Labour had been matched by a Party Vote, the percentage figure alongside Labour’s name on election night would not have been a derisory 25, but a much more respectable 34 – almost certainly enough to have changed the government.

Such a huge discrepancy between the Party and Electorate Votes indicates a political party in serious trouble. What it reveals is that where voters are either well acquainted with, or have been introduced effectively to their Labour Party candidate, they are much more likely to place a tick beside his or her name. When it comes to Labour as an entity in its own right, however, the inclination to give the party a tick is nowhere near as strong.

What this says is that people like some of their local Labour MPs but think the party as a whole are unfit to govern.

In the Christchurch electorate of Port Hills, for example, the long-serving Labour candidate, Ruth Dyson, received 18,161 electorate votes. The Labour Party on its own, however, mustered just 9,514 Party Votes – a whopping 9,205 less than National’s 18,719 Party Votes. Small wonder, then, that 27 of the 32 MPs in Labour’s caucus are electorate MPs, with only 5 coming in off the Party List.

Unless this situation is turned around – and quickly – Labour’s electoral performance can only deteriorate. As the party’s well-known and affectionately regarded electorate MPs retire, the assumption that Labour people will replace Labour people is being called into question. Once again, Christchurch supplies the example. The parliamentary seat of Christchurch Central was for decades regarded as one of the safest of Labour’s “safe” seats. True to form, in the 2005 General Election Labour’s majority was 7,836. In 2008, however, with a new candidate, it’s majority shrank to just 935. Three years later, National’s Nicky Wagner took the seat with a majority of 47 votes. In last year’s election National increased its majority to 2,420. Significantly, National’s share of the Party Vote over those four general elections rose from 30.5 to 44.6 percent. Labour will have to work very hard to recover Christchurch Central in 2017.

Read more »

Chris Trotter’s politically incoherent rant about Greece

Chris Trotter can usually be relied on to give a sensible opinion on most political matters, though occasionally he loses himself in an orgy of self congratulation when it appears someone can claim “Capitalism doesn’t Work”.

Chris’ delusions about capitalism and the Greek Crisis have come to a head with a piece where he welcomes the bludging Greek ratbags voting not to pay their debts.

He usually gets the diagnosis right, but doesn’t always get the treatment right.

THE UNFOLDING CRISIS in Greece has stripped Neoliberalism of its protective disguise and the world is recoiling from its ugliness. In normal circumstances the true purposes of the world’s neoliberal elites are masked by their use of opaque economic jargon. In the case of Greece, however, the social science of economics has been turned against them by some of its most impressive exponents. Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman have told the world that what is being done to Greece has nothing to do with economics, and everything to do with politics. A whole country is being driven to the wall in a desperate bid to destroy its left-wing government. Neoliberalism simply cannot allow the Greek Prime Minister’s, Alexis Tsipras’s, powerful lessons in democracy to go unpunished. If his Syriza Party is allowed to defeat austerity in Greece, what is there to prevent Podemos from defeating it in Spain? Or Sinn Fein in Ireland?

Yes Chris, it is all to do with politics, although those from the Austrian or Chicago schools of economics might disagree with well known left-wingers and Keynsians, Stigliz and Krugman. The politics is pretty easy to understand, especially if you take a step back from the ideology of a looney left Greek government who says “We won’t pay you”.

Germany’s 72-year-old Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble, has clearly been unable to cope with his 54-year-old Greek counterpart, Yanis Varoufakis. Everything about the free-wheeling Greek economics professor offends the unyielding German ideologue. Varoufakis has been unsparing in his criticism of Germany’s inability to grasp the necessity for Greek debt relief (which even the IMF now acknowledges). It’s an act of insubordination which Schauble and his colleagues are resolutely determined to punish. So unchallenged has neoliberalism’s ideological hegemony been since the collapse of Soviet-style socialism that it finds itself unable to adequately respond to Varoufakis’s neo-Keynesian populist critiques. Their greatest fear is that, like the little boy in the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, the Greek Finance Minister will draw the world’s attention to the fact that the neoliberal German Emperor is wearing no clothes.  Read more »

‘Please do nothing Andrew’ implores Chris Trotter

Chris Trotter is hoping that Andrew Little continues to remain obscure.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, the Labour Party is currently engaged in a critically important political campaign. No, it may not look like Labour is doing very much at all at the moment, but that is the whole point. After the sheer mayhem of the last four years, a period of tranquillity is crucial to Labour’s chances of re-election.

All of the party’s research suggests that by the end of 2014 the New Zealand public was fed up to the back teeth with Labour. As far as most voters were concerned the party was a joke. It seemed to specialise in choosing the wrong people to lead it. Its caucus was incapable of even the most perfunctory political discipline. Indeed, there were some MPs who clearly got a bigger thrill out of sticking the knife into the back of a colleague than they did from sticking it into the front of the Government. The party organisation was no better. It delighted in choosing Party List candidates that struck many of its voters and potential voters as having been drawn from a carefully prepared list of the politically bizarre and/or the simply unelectable. (Which may well have been true!)

As 2015 loomed, what Labour most needed to do was to get its name out of headlines. No more leadership elections. No more Caucus back-stabbing. No more shots of furious rank-and-file party members calling for the heads of the “Anyone But Cunliffe” faction. The new leader, Andrew Little’s, best course of action, after he’d spent a little time reassuring the voters that he could string together a coherent English sentence, and that he wasn’t in the least bit sorry for being a man, was to say and do as little as possible and just let the people of New Zealand get used to him.

It could be a cunning strategy or it could be that Andrew Little is just plain tits.

And that, if you think about it, is pretty much what Labour has been doing all year – as little as possible. With the honourable exception of Phil Twyford, who has been waging a solid, one-man-war against the Government’s disastrous housing policies, the Labour Opposition has assiduously (and largely successfully) avoided making a fool of itself. Its key strategists figure that if it can avoid making a fool of itself for another six months, then the electorate might just be ready to start treating it as a serious electoral option.

Read more »