Trotter worries that Shearer is the return of Rogernomics

Bowalley Road

Chris Trotter appears to be worried that Labour has rebuilt itself into the Rogernomics party again:

If we want to pass through the next round of big change with our values intact, and its burdens equitably distributed, then we’re going to have to learn from past mistakes. In the language of the free-market, we’re going to have to undertake an exercise in “due diligence”.

Scoop journalist, Gordon Campbell, is showing us the way. Writing on his blog, Mr Campbell has presented us with an extraordinary passage from an article about Roger Douglas’s economic “reforms” published in The Listener of 23 February 1985:

Have the policies being tried here ever been tried elsewhere and shown to work? “I can give you the case of Finland,” Douglas replies, “which actually has done better over recent years than New Zealand.” Finland “bit the bullet” and “made the adjustment.” There was a small drop in living standards in 1979, he says, “but Finland has had increases in wages, real wages, ever since…”

Finland? Why does that country’s name ring a bell? Could it be because Finland and its former prime minister, Esko Aho, featured prominently in David Shearer’s “visionary” speech of last Thursday?


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  • Apolonia

    With National having become another left-wing party, maybe Shearer is eyeing the void on the right.

  • Salacious T Crumb

    They have all embraced the new political philosophy of expedient populism.

    Thanks MMP.

    • In Vino Veritas

      Well said Salacious. The issue for National is that there are far too many out there that can vote themselves an income under socialism.

    • Pete George

      It’s partly expedient populism (always has been some of that), but also a bit morepolitical pragmatism, which isn’t such a bad thing.

      Theoretical idealism is a bit last century, picking up the best ideas and doing what makes sense, well makes a lot more sense. Without left/right straightjackets.

      • Bunswalla

        Quite possibly, but the most popular ideas are not always the best ideas.

  • Troy

    Shearer has forgotten, or didn’t know due to inexperience, that political parties have research units, so everything he says is taken note of, researched and analysed to check for inconsistencies or relevance of what he said to what others have said in the past – he’s been snaffled (yet again) – some seconds i feel sorry for him, but most of the time I don’t.  His inexperience his shining thru in volumes.

    • Pete George

      Not just his inexperience shining through, also the ineptitude of his research and advisory support. Goff revisited – he wasn’t Labour’s biggest problem.

    • In Vino Veritas

      It’s not even a case of research units. Anyone with an interest in politics who has had to make debate against socialism has run into the Finland question. As I have previously posted, Esko Aho was a centerist who led a right wing coalition which ran cut and save policies. The cuts were extensive and deep, ergo they were voted out after one term in 1995. His government is held up by the Finns as one which made the tough decisions and forward thinking which led to Finnish recovery post the early 90’s financial crisis.

    • Kthxbai

      Agree entirely, Troy.  But he’s a second term MP and still seems unacquainted with the basics, which isn’t forgiveable.

  • ConwayCaptain

    To get anywhere Shearer will have to have a Night of the Long Knives or get in a good pruner to get rid of the deadwood, dross and timeservers.

    • Gazzaw

      Absolutely agree CC. Shearer at best is an interim measure there to try and appease the old guard, the rainbows, the unionists, the ‘Cunliffes’ and any of the other disparate mini-factions that constitute the labour party. Compromises never work – if Shearer sees himself as a longterm leader he needs to show some big cojones and really deal to the white-anters and the dead wood. 

    • Super_Guest

      But that’s 90% of the Labour party caucus. How would they function without the valuable political input of Raymond Huo?

  • Mr_Blobby

    I hope so, someone has to reign the spending in, we can’t go on borrowing to fund our lifestyle indefinitely; something National and surrender MonKey have failed miserably at. It should be law that Governments have to balance the books and live within its means. Laugh all you want but Cullen did produce 9 balanced budgets something English has not achieved once. I await eagerly the next coming of Rogernomics. The surrender and clapping MonKeys in power now don’t have what it takes.

    • Sarrs

      ‘Balanced budgets’ is a bit of a misnomer. If you look at the period Cullen was in charge, he robbed the countries reserves to fund unsustainable policy. He went in when the countries reserves were huge and robbed them down until they were almost non-existent, just in time for the GFC. A successful Treasury wouldn’t have done this. A responsible Treasury wouldn’t have done this. Cullen spent on the never never, he didn’t even cast an eye a decade into the future with a view to safe guard our countries reserves against potential economic crises. 

      Laugh all you want but from a professional accounting perspective, Cullen was an irresponsible muppet. If you want a lesson in accounting and interpretation of financial statements, just ask mate. Because you are demonstrating a serious lack of anything close to understanding. 

  • NotLen

    One of the first things that needs to go is Working For Families.  As an example, one of my staff is a very capable single mother with two kids earning about $55k per annum.  She was headhunted by a competitor and offer $10k more a year.  Because of WFF it made no difference to her income, so she stayed put.

    By inference then, there is no benefit for me to give her a pay rise as the Govt is subsidising my wage expenses very nicely.

    • ConwayCaptain

      We are borrowIng to pay for unproductive people to be supported by a dwindling number of productive tax payers.

      The head of the PRC Sovereign Fund when asked if he would lend money to back the Euro said something along the lines why should we lend money to Govts who pay people not to work.

      No Socialism in the PRC, Communist in name on;y, basicall a Fascist one party starte.

      Waigt until it starts falling apart.  ALOts of V V V V V wealthy people at the top who made their money from graft and ripping poff the state and a lot of poor people.  When the PRC property bubble bursts and when the PRC banks lose horrendous amounts of money that have been leant to inefficient Govt Cos then the world will shake.  None of the PRC Steel Cos are making a good return at all.  PRC is still a peasant economy.

  • JeffW2

    Trotter’s comments show that we are too far away from bankruptcy yet. When we near bankruptcy and welfare is threatened to a much greater extent, then perhaps the voices of reason can get louder.
    The only way that equality, the desired aim of the left, can be achieved, is with everyone being equally poor; government can’t make the people equally rich. 

  • (i like this quote from the comments-thread of that piece..)

    “…I believe that history will look back on the 40 years between 1980
    and 2020 as neoliberalism’s equivalent of Hitler’s Ardennes Offensive: –

    –  the last great push of a doomed system..”

    [email protected]

    • In Vino Veritas

      And this sort of view has been held since Lenin, Marx, Trotsky, Stalin and Mao, Phillip. In fact back then, the prediction was that the Socialism would be the dominant political system in the world. And here we are still waiting for that nirvana.

      Therefore, Chris Trotter’s comments (as quoted by you) can be taken with a grain of salt at best, and treated with derision at worst.

      •  you can’t feel the winds of change stirring..?..there..vino..?

        ..i have been in despair for decades at the apparent political-change-torpor…

        ..and i am more excited by the prospect of progressive-progress now than at any time during those decades..

        ..and excitement has nothing to do with the elevation of shearer to the leadership of the labour party..  is more the forces for change outside this country that are exciting me..

        ..we will be dragged along…

        ..and as for shearer..i have gone from pro to anti to agnostic…

        ..he is just a bit player in a centre-left coalition.. is first past the post/great-leader syndrome that is driving much of the angst..

        ..he isn’t measuring up…

        ..then of course there are his alarmingly rightwing politics..

        ..and ‘finland’ looks to become his lockes’ endorsement of pol pot..

        ..something that will haunt him..

        ..and unless he changes his ways/smartens up…

        ..he will be rolled.. my commentary on questiontime yesterday i noted how key had whacked shearer with the finland stick…

        ..there was no other way to call it…

        ..and shearer had no comeback..

        ..yet in the same period of parliament both hipkins and robertson showed how opposition politicians work..both were in full cry..and both in good form…

        ..and as for little..?..(shudder..!..he is rowling-redux..could bore the paint off walls..)

        ..(i just don’t think shearer is quick enough on his feet…

        ..a while back i did a piece on an encounter i had with him in the mt albert shopping centre..(pre-leadership..)

        ..where in response to my banging on about the failings of the clark labour govt..(vis a vis their ignoring of the poorest..and actually further cutting their levels  of support..)..

        ..the only response he seemed to have was a form of gurning…

        ..(before being rescued by an aide waving a piece of urgent-paper..heh..!

        ..i walked off decidedly  unimpressed…

        ..and yesterday in parliament..after being whacked with the finland-stick…

        ..he seemed again on the verge of gurning…

        [email protected]

      • In Vino Veritas

        Phillip, your vigour for the cause is comendable, but no, I do not feel “the winds of change stirring”. I don’t even feel the beginnings of the slightest zephyr.

        In fact, my read of the current political climate is that only those on the extreme edges of both sides can feel any “winds of change stirring”. I say that with the proviso that for this group, the same winds have been felt for time immemorial.

        Oh, and gurning. Haven’t heard that term in years. Excellent descriptive word that could be used for a good few politicians methinks.

      • Callum

        Yes Phil we are all waiting for the winds of change, particularly the change where you get a damn job and stop sponging of the rest of us. Unfortunately, I fear we wait in vain.

    • Mr_Blobby

      Ah, the whore is back was getting a bit worried that we might be on the same page, then you went back to your usual dribble which I did not bother to read. All is good again.

    • parorchestia

      Get a job.
      Go back to primary school and learn punctuation.
      And read a bit of NZ history as to why the Labour Government had to reform the economy and introduce moderate free-market reforms.
      Before then the government trading enterprises were unbelievably unproductive, socially irresponsible and unresponsive.   They were protected by a number of millstone measures and made huge losses that had to be made up by the taxpayer.
      It couldn’t last.  We were within a week of bankruptcy when Lange was first elected.  Had we gone bankrupt people like you would have been forced into work (shock, horror) as there would have been little money for social welfare.
      So, be thankful for our democratic free-market economies.  You are a beneficiary of our success (which pisses me off).

      And, just to clear things up, free-market reforms were only partially implemented in NZ.   Free trade is the natural state for mankind.  Any attempt to change this, such as by socialism or communism,  always ends in tears.  

      • jay cee

        if free trade is the panacea for all our ills why hasn’t the usa that bastion of free enterprise embraced it. go tell your fellow country men and woman who have seen their jobs disappear thanks to free trade  with countries who pay their workers below our mimimum wage what they think of it.

      • parorchestia

        Jaycee. It is always difficult to sell Ricardo’s law of comparative advantage because it is not obvious and the adjustments it calls for are painful, as you observe.  But not trading to our strengths and buying from countries whose goods are cheaper and better than ours is economic suicide.   You probably don’t remember the Trekka – our attempt at a mass produce “car” but I can’t think of a better example of Ricardo’s principle.   Imagine a country where the only vehicle is the Trekka, the only TV is a wooden cased, cathode ray tubed Panasonic, the only films those produced by the National Film Unit with multiple shots of Taranaki and Fiordland, the only telephones obsolete models that take 3 months to get, the only food potatoes, apples and milk and so on and so on.
        But, hey, we’ve been there.  It’s the 1960s and 70s, and the USSR.  That was when free trade was inhibited.  We were deeply socialist and centrally planned, and the USSR was communistic.

        There are over 20K to 30 K jobs available at present, paying wages most people in the world would die for, so we aren’t doing too badly during a time when banks were unbelievably greedy and governments were unbelievably stupid, thus dumping us in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. 
        I am a firm believer in the law to protect the free market, but that argument gets complicated.  Please read my book when it comes out (if it ever does!).

  • BJ

    Shearer is not a man with Labour philosophy Time he got honest and declared his hand. He has many things in common with John Key because they are both Leo and Leo’s need to lead. He will be learning from Key and subtly mirroring the behaviour and posturing of him till people can’t tell the difference. Betcha!

    • Gazzaw

      Are you serious BJ? Do you really believe that stuff?

    • Pete George

      Funny. I’m a Leo, but I don’t feel a need to lead, and I’m not going to study Key and Shearer so I can subtly mirror them.

      The star sign I was born under says:
      “Look up at the myriad night sky if you like, but signs of reality are grounded at your feet.”

    • if you are going to play that game..b.j..

      ..also highly over-inflated senses of their own worth..

      ..and an almost chronic inability to take be ‘wrong’…

      ..all bad-signs..

      [email protected]

      •  if the word sociopath were to be attributed to any star-sign..

        ..leo and aries would be battling it out for the dubious honour..

        ..both only really care about themselves…

        ..everyone else is there to pay court on them…

        ..obnoxious pricks..most of them..

        [email protected]

      • Phil, your posts are unreadable.
        It’s like listening to a wheelchair bound uncle speaking through gasps on an oxygen tank, asking for his colostomy bag to be changed.
        When you try and make a point think swift and decisive, like a Samurai executioner- rather than trying to imitate a two year old removing the top of a boiled egg, armed only with a slice of soggy buttered toast.  

    • @BoJangles

      BJ< go back to the States……..Santorum needs people like you 

  • kiwi in america

    Labour has a massive task. National won because it has dibs on the centre of NZ politics which is where real power lies. Clark/Cullen presented themselves as sufficiently Blair/3rd way centrist to overcome nervousness about Clark’s obvious socialist instincts. For 2 terms she kept them pretty well under wraps but lefties can’t help themselves and by their 3rd term, Labour proceeded to push away its socially conservative working class base to National and scared off middle class swing voters with all the nanny state interventions, progressive social reforms (Civil Unions/adoptions rewrite and legalising prostitution), allowing a blow out in the size of the union dominated public sector as well as showing its nasty proclivity to use the taxpayers to fund their campaigns (the pledge card rorts) and to shut off dissent (the EFA).

    Goff campaigned on a grab bag of lefty promises (CGT, extending WFF to beneficiaries, repeal National standards) that really only appealed to its base of beneficiaries, unionists, feminists and the rainbow coalition. The 27% it garnered in 2011 represented that base. Shearer knows that he has to retain the base and yet appeal to the centre sufficient to chip off votes from National and not leak too much to Mana or the Greens to be the dominant partner in a centre left government. The Greens had to swing to the right and mute its more extreme socialist instincts to appeal to enough urban middle class liberals to get over 10%. As Shearer moves Labour more to the centre, the Greens will more aggressively go after Labour’s socialist core – the Brian Edwards types.

    Brian Edwards mused that maybe he’ll vote Green dramatically highlighting Shearer’s problem as Edwards represents a couple of very solid reliable voting blocks for Labour – academic urban liberals and the so-called chattering classes or what I call the commentariat. His role as consultant and biographer to Clark means he has tribal Labour loyalty and Labour could always rely on liberal academics like him to fill key party and campaign roles at the local level. For someone so deep inside Labour’s machine and such a long standing staunch supporter to express such sentiments sends a signal to these blocks to make the break to the Greens once Shearer makes the changes that need to be made.

    If Shearer is a genuine reformer (its too early to tell), then Labour will ditch the trade union affiliation. That frees the working class left leaning union activist part of the Labour base to either form a new New Labour Party (around a Matt McCarten type figure) or to merge with perhaps a renamed Mana Party that moves white hard left activits like Minto or Bradford into co-leadership with Hone to become a more broad based hard left party. If Labour loses 5% of its urban liberal socialist academics to the Greens and another 5% of its hard left unionist/beneficiary base (like you) to a hard left party, Shearer must now win now win 12 – 13% off National and hope that Peters stays above 5% to have any chance of leading a left coalition because of the churn of the vote on the centre left. Based on current form, that will be a tall ask. If Robertson rolls him to keep Labour true to its more left leaning activist core as you suggest, he will simply be fighting in the same space that Goff fought in trying to keep the centre left vote from moving to the Greens or Mana ceding the centre again to National.

    • Salacious T Crumb

      Phil has a point. Party’s are relying more and more on presidential style politics as populism forces them to centre ground.

      In addition to your prediction around Labour ditching union affiliations, I suspect they will also take to policy around “welfare reform” after seeing the traction National has gained with this.


    •  web said:..’ your posts are unreadable.’.. don’t..

      ..or get an adult to explain…


      [email protected]

      • Super_Guest

        Why don’t you get an adult to write yours?

  • thor42

    No-one in the Labour Party has enough “Rogernomics strength” to even pull the skin off a rice pudding. 
    They’re about as “right-wing” as North Korea. 
    Trotter is making a big fuss about nothing.

  • kia..there are so many suppositions/assumptions in every paragraph that i think are horseshit…

    ..that’ i haven’t the time or energy to bother..

    ..suffice to say you have almost everything wrong..

    ..(and i am getting flashbacks to those long/daily screeds you posted at kiwiblog…

    ..making the case for first clinton to win the nomination over obama..

    ..and then for that mad old bastard..and that equally barking person from alaska… then beat clinton..’know..!…)

    [email protected]

    • (ahem..!..beat obama ..of course..)

      [email protected]

      • Salacious T Crumb

        His comment on Goffs “lefty grab bag” was right on the money Phil.

        Even you cant deny Phil or are your “winds of change” more ideological flatulence? 

    • kiwi in america

      I recall your screeds telling us Key was going to get beat by first Clark then Goff – and then your rebuttals that consist of telling us that there’s too much to disagree with so you wont bother. Nothing changes except that you’re still a drain on the taxpayer. Hopefully the welfare reforms will end your bludging.

  • johnbronkhorst

    Trotter has still got his “lenin red glasses” on. He hasn’t reallised that the WORLD has rejected socialism, sputtering to life occasionally when the disaffected are lied to about circumstances and BLAME is laid at someone elses door (besides their own) and conspiracy theories abound. i have said it before …Shearer is saying 9effectively) that he is moving the Labour Party to the centre of politics but promoting the leftist, “tax and spend” actions. (CGT and not $5000 tax threshold [cut]). Meanwhile the rest of his caucus is on the waterfront supporting the MUNZ and CTU and spouting along with them the FAR leftist mantra. I wouldn’t be surprised if the started singing the “RED FLAG” ‘anthum?’ Contadiction ?..leader not actually LEADING anyone anywhere.

    •  do you ever get past/beyond the shouted cliches/slogans there..bronk..?

      ..or is that all you’ve got..?

      [email protected]

      • johnbronkhorst

        Thanks for the compliment ure!!! Cliches are cliches, because they are a true description of events and people repeat them often…Emphasis…not shouting is the reason for capitalisation in this context. I leave the shouting to the rent a crowd lefties, who always try to shout down anyone with a contradictory opinion, for fear that their lies and shortcomings may be found out! also please highlight the slogans for me…so as I may copywrite them and use them more often!!

      • (reply to crumb..)

        ..there was no lefty-grab-bag…

        ..the $5,000 tax free was to be brought in over three years..($3.30 a year..?..woo-hoo..!

        ..and the inclusion of the poorest into wff..

        ..was to be done by two thousand and fucken 18..!.

        ..six years away..


        ..which is all why labour failed yet again to reconnect with that 30% base ..

        ..who just looked up…saw it was more of the same same from labour..…

        ..and who then stayed at home/didn’t bother…

        ..if there was a lefty-grab-bag.. was on an extended lay-bye….

        ..not to be opened untill 2018…two govts/elections away..

        ..(sniggers/snorts of derision…eh..?..)

        [email protected]

  • Auto_immune

    It’s a bit early to claim that Shearer is the vanguard of right-wing policy when we haven’t seen much in the way of proper policy at all.

    •  (reply to bronk..)

      i forgot to mention you are also both incoherent and inchoate..

      [email protected]

      • ConwayCaptain

        The POT calling the Kettle Black

      • johnbronkhorst

        So I’m right…you just don’t get it…Is your other name Chris Hipkins by any chance?

  • johnbronkhorst

    Thanks for the……… support ??…..captain…I think.

    •  heh..!..that was funny..bronk..

      [email protected]

      • johnbronkhorst

        It is the first step of your education…first we entertain. Then when we have your attention….we teach!! and NO I am not a teacher!!

  • Again, sorry Phil, didn’t catch that. It’s like reading Haiku written by a dribbling alcoholic with end stage dementia. And apparently you have your own blog? Well done you.

    • kiwi in america

      Webnomix – its what you’d expect – regurgitating Huffington Post, The Standard and Daily Kos talking points, all in his trademark irksome ……. style and with zero comments last time I looked.