Helen Clark

Trotter is onto it with the loss of Russel Norman

Chris Trotter thinks the bloodless coup within the Greens is a move to push the Green party towards the right.

I think he is right…and as usual wrong at the same time.

RUSSEL NORMAN’S DECISION to step down as the Greens co-leader reflects the party’s longstanding determination to reposition itself rightward. For eight years Norman’s personal energy and political discipline succeeded in turning aside the pleas of a clear majority of the Greens’ membership to break the party out of its left-wing ghetto. Only by exploiting to the full his party’s consensus-based decision-making processes was Norman able to keep the Greens anchored firmly on the left of New Zealand politics.

For eight years Norman strove to fashion a Green Party manifesto that was not only compatible with the Labour Party’s policy platform but would, to a remarkable degree, serve as its inspiration. His astonishing and largely successful mission to master the challenges of contemporary economics; an effort which allowed him to participate in policy debates with an authority sadly lacking in his predecessors, and to drag Labour along in his wake, is probably the most impressive achievement of his leadership.

It was this ability to render the Greens’ left-wing policies economically intelligible that allowed Norman to spike the guns of the Greens’ very sizeable “moderate” (for want of a better description) faction. The latter had demonstrated its power by installing Metiria Turei as co-leader – rather than the overtly left-wing Sue Bradford – following Jeanette Fitzsimons’ retirement in 2008. Had the rules made it possible, this same faction would have radically repositioned the Greens as an ideologically agnostic environmentalist party of the political centre; one capable of forming a coalition with either of the main political parties.

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Face of the day

Patron of Shakti Helen Clark

Patron of Shakti
Helen Clark

Today’s face of the day is Helen Clark who is the Patron of Shakti. I may not share Helen Clark’s politics but I share her support of Shakti. More people need to know of its existence.

A woman close to my family came to New Zealand from Syria many years ago to an arranged marriage. She had never met her groom and neither had her family. She arrived in New Zealand unaware that she had rights and there were people who would protect her. If Shakti had been around then and if she had been aware of it she would have been able to escape instead of being trapped by the fact that she could not speak English and knew no one. Shakti are specially for women, children and families of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin.

I did not know of Shakti’s existence until I watched an Australian show called Four Corners about Forced marriage. One of the stories was about a group of sisters rescued from forced marriage in New Zealand by their school’s guidance counselor and Shakti. Their story will move you.

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Top 10 things New Zealand does better than Australia

The opposition parties did the best thing ever when they declared that we had a crisis of Kiwis leaving NZ for Australia.

Once the crisis was declared it was over quicker than it was started.

But one thing politicians and whingers go on about is how lucky Australia is.

That’s why this list of the Top 10 things New Zealand does better than Australia as published in Australia is so special.

IT’S somewhat foolhardy to ruin an otherwise pleasant new year by getting my head punched in. But sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns or, in this case, the sheep by its ears, and say what you really think.

And what I really think (ducks) is that New Zealand is quietly trouncing us.

Not with its weather, which is reliably miserable, or with the Kiwis’ infuriating habit of replying to every question with “Yeah, nah.”

But when the 4000th person, upon learning that I was born across the Tasman, asks: “Why are the All Blacks so good?” I feel compelled to speculate on the national psyche.

New Zealanders like themselves.

Unlike the Germans who have self-regard, or the Italians who are self-admiring, or the Americans who aren’t quite sure how great they are these days but will enthuse anyway, the kiwis exude quiet confidence and self-determination.

“So why are so many of them coming over here?” I hear you say.

Well, they’re not.

Whereas they used to flock across the ditch, prompting former PM Robert Muldoon to distastefully remark that they “raised the IQ of both countries”, the migration rate has slowed considerably.

Kiwis are staying home where they’re enjoying a strong economy, low unemployment, a stable government and terms of trade at a 40-year high.

And those boys in black just keep winning.

So what are they doing right?   Read more »

Boko Haram Islamic terror group kills 2000

The tough Islamists of Boko Haram, scared of getting shot at by real soldiers have killed 2000 in Nigeria, mostly women and children.

Hundreds of bodies — too many to count — remain strewn in the bush in Nigeria from an Islamic extremist attack that Amnesty International suggested Friday is the “deadliest massacre” in the history of Boko Haram.

Mike Omeri, the government spokesman on the insurgency, said fighting continued Friday for Baga, a town on the border with Chad where insurgents seized a key military base on Jan. 3 and attacked again on Wednesday.

“Security forces have responded rapidly, and have deployed significant military assets and conducted airstrikes against militant targets,” Omeri said in a statement.

District head Baba Abba Hassan said most victims are children, women and elderly people who could not run fast enough when insurgents drove into Baga, firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on town residents.  Read more »

Hate to admit it: Labour and Greens are right about New Zealand’s inequality

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There you are.

OECD data.

Hard facts.  Can’t escape them.   Read more »

Agreeing with Chris Trotter about online voting

There are plenty of fools out there who think that electronic voting is nirvana, that it will engage the yoof to vote and increase participation in our democracy.

I disagree, and so does Chris Trotter. Electronic voting won’t deliver what proponents say it will, in fact it is likely to increase distrust in the voting process.

There are already conspiracy theorists out there who think John Key rigs ballot boxes, imagine if there was electronic voting, you’d ahve accusations of Merril Lynch funding the software company from the time of John Key’s involvement and therefore the process must be corrupt.

DEREK HANDLEY bubbles over with faith in the future. As a precocious inductee to the Silicon Alley Hall of Fame, he is blazingly confident that capitalism, information technology and the entrepreneurial spirit are never going to encounter a challenge they cannot rise to – or overcome.

Like the failure of close to half of New Zealand citizens aged under 30 to engage in the electoral process.

On this subject Mr Handley is typically forthright:

“Everybody under 30 has grown up with the internet and mobile devices to do practically everything online yet they still can’t vote online. [This has resulted] in an entire generation being pushed to the sidelines of democracy not because they don’t care, but because it hasn’t kept up with them.”

Setting aside Mr Handley’s bubbly confidence in all things “online”, this is utter tosh. An “entire generation” has not been “pushed to the sidelines of democracy”, they have ambled there entirely of their own accord. Not only do they not “care” about democracy, but an alarming number of them would also struggle to tell you what it is.

In my opinion Derek Handley is a jumped up pretentious tosspot. My dearly departed grandfather once commented (ok it was a lot) that empty vessels make the most noise. This is Derek Handley.

Trotter is dead right about the dead set useless yoof who let themselves become disengaged in democracy.

Far from democracy failing to keep up with the needs of the younger generation, one out of every two New Zealanders under 30 has failed conspicuously to keep up with the most fundamental facts of political life.

The most important of these is that politics (and elections) are activities to be participated in collectively – not individually. The moment this central fact of political life is forgotten, the logic of participation collapses in on itself.

A recent article by Fairfax journalists Paul Easton and Simon Day vividly illustrates what happens when the prospect of casting a vote is viewed through an individualistic, as opposed to a collectivist, lens.

Asked why he didn’t vote, Johnny, aged 20, and described simply as “dad”, declared:

“I didn’t see the point. My life is good as it is. I don’t like John Key, but I thought he was going to get in anyway so I didn’t vote. I would vote if it meant getting stuff I was keen for.”

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Commenting Standards from a readers perspective

I haven’t passed comment on our now more than a year old moderation and commenting policies. I haven’t commented for a reason…there is no need to comment, I am happy with the results despite more than a few detractors who are now junking up other people’s sites.

But people have noticed, and here is one reader who has sent in his comments about the difference between comments on my site vs the mainstream media.


Yesterday I read two articles on the same subject – Helen Clark and her ambition to lead the UN, one on Whale Oil the other on TV3’s site.

No surprises in the content of the articles, but it was the comments sections which I though gave a very interesting insight on the whole perception of Whale Oil versus MSM scenario.

Often Whale Oil is portrayed as the nasty attack Blog with the lowest (or no) standards and the MSM the defender of standards and arbitrators of what is right.

Here are  random shots of both sites comments section where I could include at least three commentators who responded to a different point of view – the difference is stark.

I am betting If you asked a non Whale Oil reader who has been subjected to the anti Whale Oil propaganda they would be extremely surprised at the result.

TV3 has it so wrong on so many fronts it doesn’t need pointing out – they should actually close comments on their site if they cannot keep them to a reasonable standard.

This is why Whale oil continues to fight and win the good fights.   Read more »

Guardian editorial thinks Helen Clark is inappropriate to lead the UN

This must be devastating for Helen Clark to read, in what is probably her favourite media organisation, one that she usually gets a  free reign in opining on whatever she feels like, has published an editorial suggesting that she is inappropriate to succeed Ban Ki Moon as UN General Secretary.

The United Nations confronts war, famine, disease, climate change and much else, but perhaps the greatest and most persistent challenge the organisation has faced is the tendency of its member states to deny it the leadership its work requires. The issue is back, as it is every decade, with the selection of a new secretary general to take over in 2016.

The UN enshrined the idea of harnessing the talents of a group of men and women from around the world, accountable to governments but working exclusively for the global good. It has only sometimes, and quite by accident, been fulfilled. When there is sufficient leadership to give life to it, the arts of peace flourish and the global discourse is enriched. When there is not, a price is paid in blood.

Fair, noble aspirations…if somewhat motherhood and apple pie in their outlook.

The editorial then disses the British candidate before setting upon Helen Clark.

The field of those seeking to be the next secretary general is widely felt to be underwhelming. Helen Clark, the head of the UN Development Programme, gave an example of how a UN official should not behave when, before the current secretary general was even halfway through his term, she began to discuss, in these pages, her interest in succeeding him. It is time for something more serious. A small search committee should be established, led by Kofi Annan, with representatives of the permanent members of the security council, other regions, and a professional headhunter, and it should work through most of next year. The idea that candidates should be limited to one region is unfounded and can be dispensed with. The council should recommend more than one candidate to the general assembly, which should make an appointment for a single term of seven years.

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Face of the day

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Photo-twitter.com

The Green Party asked for an investigation to see if the Prime Minister has broken public record laws following admissions made in Parliament that he deletes his texts.

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Can Phil Goff Raise Enough Money to Win a Mayoral Campaign?

Phil-Goff-clown-photo

Phil Goff is being talked up as the next mayor of Auckland.

The problem for Phil and his booster is that he is dead set useless at fundraising.

Despite spending most of his life in Parliament he has never built a donor base, and he does not have a fundraiser who can bring the money in to fund a campaign.

To run an effective mayor campaign a candidate either needs a weak opponent or about $800,000.  Read more »